Autonomous Trucks Seen on I-80 in Sacramento
I”m Ed Smith, a West Sacramento truck accident lawyer. West Sacramento residents might want to get accustomed to the idea of autonomous vehicles passing through the city, particularly along I-80 where a Tesla Semi was recently spotted near Ikea furniture. This is not surprising since the roadway is a direct connection between Tesla’s factory in Fremont and the Tesla battery center in Sparks, Nevada. Since Sacramento is approximately two hours to and from both of these facilities, seeing the prototype semis should become familiar.
Autonomous Trucks Approved for Driverless Tests
The Tesla Semi is easily identified by its streamlined shape and absence of a trailer in tow. The prototypes still have drivers behind the wheel monitoring the vehicle’s progress, but this will change in the future. Autonomous vehicles manufactured by the company have been tested on local roads since January. According to the company, Tesla vehicles are already equipped to drive themselves, and I-80 through Sacramento may be one of their main routes for testing the trucks. Testing for vehicles without drivers was approved in California, and regulations for road use were posted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles on February 26.
Will Autonomous Vehicles Be Safer?
Considering 90 percent of accidents involving motor vehicles are due to errors by the driver, autonomous vehicles may prove to be much safer. There have only been 58 crashes involving autonomous vehicles in California since 2014. However, those crashes tended to be due to human error. Using autonomous vehicles would remove the dangers of drunk drivers or distracted drivers from the road, among other advantages. However, it is vitally important that the manufacturers ensure that all the bugs are worked out before these vehicles are given license to travel the roads on a regular basis.
Trucking Industry Looks Forward to Driverless Trucks
The technology is causing excitement in the trucking industry. Since goods need to be shipped over long distances from plants to end users, the trucking industry is spending large amounts of money to keep supplies moving. In some cases, 75 percent of shipping costs are spent on labor. With autonomous trucks, the cost of shipping will be reduced even though in the beginning a driver/observer will be present in the vehicle.
Since autonomous vehicles are without human input, the liability for accidents will shift to product liability if the driverless vehicle caused the accident. The software company that designed the autonomous functionality or vehicle manufacturer will be held to the same level of liability as in any other case where design or manufacturing errors are at fault.
In California, the plaintiff (the injured party) does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. Instead, the legal doctrine of strict liability is applied. This means that if a manufacturing defect in either the design or manufacture of a product caused an injury to another person, the injured party does not have to prove negligence. Instead, the plaintiff must show the item was used in the way it was intended to be used, that the item was defective due to design or manufacturing procedures and the defect was the reason the plaintiff was injured.
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West Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a West Sacramento truck accident lawyer. When you or your loved one is injured by an autonomous vehicle, you can still be compensated for your injuries. Call me at (916) 921-6400 for my friendly and free advice. You can also call (800) 404-5400 or contact me online.
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