Apr 2014

Irvine Injury Lawyers Best Counsel After Traffic Accident

Do I need an Irvine car accident attorney?

It’s a question we most often hear. What if it’s a “minor” accident and everyone is “fine?”

We point to the old adage about the definition of “minor injuries” being injuries that don’t happen to you.

Most traffic accidents are complex matters. April is both Alcohol Awareness Month and Distracted Driving Awareness Month, two of the driving behaviors most likely to result in a serious or fatal traffic collision. Each year in California, about 3,000 motorists are killed in auto accidents. The California Highway Patrol reports 128 people were killed in Orange County traffic accidents in 2011. More than 13,500 motorists were injured that year in Orange County – that’s 37 people a day!

In many cases, determining the causes of your traffic collision can make all the difference t0 your ability to seek compensation. Evidence of distracted driving or an unsafe vehicle may only be captured in the moment. Issues involving third-party liability, like obstructions in the road, overgrown vegetation other dangerous conditions, may only be readily apparent at the time of the collision, and may even be quickly repaired in response to an incident.

Then too, you must carefully consider your definition of “minor injuries,” particularly if you are relying upon self-diagnosis. Certain back and joint injuries may take weeks or even months to become apparent. Even soft-tissue injuries like whiplash and very serious conditions such as traumatic brain injuries or nerve damage may not be readily apparent in the immediate aftermath of a traffic collision. Yet whether your medical costs are covered, and whether you receive compensation for lost wages and other damages, will be directly impacted by whether you seek experienced legal counsel.

The Statute of Limitations is two years for a negligence or wrongful death lawsuit in California. A potential claimant loses the right to collect damages or other relief once 24 months has passed from the time of the accident.

In some cases we find an injury victim did not seek legal advice at the outset because he or she felt partially responsible for the incident. Those claimants should understand that California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means even in cases where a plaintiff is found to be at some degree of fault, he or she can still recover damages to the extent a defendant is found to be to blame.

Thus, delay is what is most likely to be damaging to your claim. Like work injuries or other insurance claims, your best course of action is to properly document the incident in the immediate aftermath before seeking experienced legal and medical advice. Law firms focused on personal injury and wrongful death litigation typically handle such cases on a contingency-fee basis. This gives plaintiff’s access to experienced legal counsel in exchange for payment at case settlement or resolution. To not avail yourself of free legal advice is not typically the best move in the aftermath of an auto accident.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.

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Apr 2014

Irvine Traffic Accidents Fault of Distracted, Careless Drivers

Distracted driving has become a serious concern, with 3,331 people losing their lives and another 387,000 suffering injuries in 2011 because of distracted drivers. Numerous efforts have been made to discourage drivers from distraction, with limited success. Even in California, which has some of the strictest anti-texting laws in the nation, the texting rate reportedly has not declined. 

Texting bans are notoriously hard to enforce, so a lot of focus is on public education. Unfortunately, campaigns by AT&T, Allstate, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and State Farm Insurance have seem limited effectiveness. Understanding the reasons for failures is essential in finding better solutions. It is also important to accurately understand the extent of the problem, which experts are not currently measuring correctly.

Until better methods of preventing distracted driving are identified, collisions are likely to continue to cause thousands of injuries and fatalities. Experienced accident attorneys in Irvine can help accident victims to understand their rights.

Distracted Driving Campaigns Lack Effectiveness

A study on the effectiveness of road safety campaigns revealed that mass media public education campaigns have “virtually no effect” in reducing the risk of accidents unless the campaign is also accompanied by an enforcement campaign. However, when combined with active enforcement from local and state police, public education efforts can have as much as a 10 percent reduction in accidents.

A study of an anti-drunk driving program, Checkpoint Strikeforce, also lent credence to the theory that both publicity and enforcement are necessary.  In that campaign, there were too few sobriety checkpoints to raise public perceptions of risks associated with driving while impaired and inadequate publicity surrounding the campaign to prevent drunk driving.

While Checkpoint Strikeforce may not have been a success, campaigns against drunk driving have, overall, had a much more significant impact in reducing fatalities than anti-distracted driving campaigns. There are several possibilities for why this is the case.

First and foremost, drunk-driving campaigns went into full force at a time when it was easier to reach broad segments of the population.  Limited broadcasting networks (there were just three when the largest anti-drunk driving campaigns started in 1988) allowed for many people to be reached using prime time television advertisements. Today, the American public gets its news and entertainment from many different sources, so a successful campaign would require finding new and innovative ways to reach audience.

The anti-drunk driving campaigns also had a clear and positive message that asked motorists to make only a minor change in behavior. Most campaigns targeting drunk driving don’t suggest that drivers refrain from drinking altogether, but instead simply suggest that people have a designated driver. This is empowering, compared to the distracted driving storylines used in major Hollywood productions, which help make the idea of distracted driving “cool.”

Today, there are no such equivalent campaigns for distracted driving.  The true risks of distracted driving aren’t even understood by the experts as many convictions for distracted driving are instead described as “careless driving” convictions.

Without clear enforcement and a positive message providing a good reason for drivers not to drive while distracted, safety campaigns are likely to remain ineffective at solving this serious public health threat.

Accident attorneys in Irvine can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 to schedule a free consultation. 

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Mar 2014

Irvine Bicycle Accidents an Increasing Cause for Concern

While traffic accident fatalities in most categories dropped from 2009 to 2012, bicycle accident deaths increased over this time.  In 2011, for example, 677 pedalcyclists were killed and another 48,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions. Bicyclists accounted for two percent of motor vehicle traffic deaths and two percent of people injured in traffic collisions over the course of the year. The number of pedalcyclists killed in 2011 represented a shocking nine percent increase from the total number of fatalities in 2010. 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made a commitment to make bicycle and pedestrian safety a serious priority. Now, solutions have been suggested to actually improve conditions for riders in order to reduce the risk of collisions.

Unfortunately, while there are proposals being made at the federal level to devote more funding to bike safety and to pass laws streamlining safety efforts across the states, there is no indication that any of these laws or proposals are going to go anywhere. An interest in making changes for the better is a good thing, but it doesn’t actually help riders if nothing gets done.

Victims of bicycle collisions need to understand their rights and should contact an experienced Irvine accident lawyer for help.

Efforts Underway to Improve Bicycle Safety, But Will They Work? 

At the 2014 National Bike Summit, Secretary Foxx reported on how he oversaw development of a Complete Streets approach to transportation as mayor. A Complete Streets approach means that policies are in place requiring all users of roads to be considered at all stages of road design and development projects. Walkers, wheelchair users, the elderly, children, pedestrians and bicyclists all must be taken into consideration. The road must be designed to ensure everyone’s safety and not just to make it functional for people in cars.

The Safe Streets Act of 2014, which has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, would require that all local states and municipal organizations develop a Complete Streets Policy within two years. For any future highway or transportation projects using federal funding, the Complete Streets policy would need to be utilized, with limited exceptions. The Department of Transportation has been directed to establish regulations to ensure that this occurs. Unfortunately, it is not clear if the Safe Streets Act will pass.                                            

Secretary Foxx also discussed President Obama’s $302 billion proposal for American transportation that is part of the President’s proposed budget for 2015. Foxx said that they “made sure this plan increases resources to step up bicycle and pedestrian programs.” Unfortunately, almost everyone agrees that President Obama’s budget is dead on arrival, and the Department of Transportation is likely to continue to experience funding constraints that make it difficult to improve conditions for riders.

The state of California is picking up some of the slack, with an ambitious bike safety project planned for this year. The project will involve filling in five gaps in a 74- mile loop that spans Huntington Beach to Anaheim Hills. Unfortunately, this project is just one of many that need to be done to improve bike safety in the state and without a lot more federal help and a lot more money and effort devoted to helping bicyclists, collisions will likely continue in high numbers. 

An Irvine accident attorney can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 to schedule a free consultation.

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Feb 2014

Deadly Motorcycle Accident in Riverside Illustrates Winter Riding Risks

A 30-year-old motorcyclist was killed in Riverside recently when a driver allegedly pulled out of an elementary school into the biker’s path. Investigators are reportedly still attempting to determine who was to blame.  While the accident remains under investigation, it serves as an important reminder of the serious risks that bikers face. 

Victims of motorcycle accidents should consult with experienced personal injury lawyers in Riverside for help understanding their legal rights. The Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton represents motorcyclists harmed by driver negligence. Call today to speak with an attorney about your legal rights.

Motorcycle Accident Dangers in Riverside

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that 46 motorcyclists were killed or injured in auto accidents in Riverside County in 2011.  When involved in a motor vehicle collision, motorcyclists are at significantly greater risk than those in passenger vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 4,612 motorcyclists died in 2011 in America, which was two percent more than the number who died in the prior year. Motorcyclists are 30 times as likely to die in a collision than occupants of passenger cars and are five times as likely to suffer a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision.

The majority of motorcyclists die from head injuries, and alcohol plays a predominant role in serious and fatal injuries. In 2011, 42 percent of motorcycle riders involved in single-vehicle accidents had blood-alcohol contents exceeding the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit of .08. This is a higher percentage of intoxicated drivers than any other type of driver.

Still, not every accident is caused by intoxication and not every death or injury could be prevented with helmet use. To avoid being involved in collisions like the recent fatal Riverside crash, motorcyclists should follows some basic safety tips including:

  • Never driving when distracted or impaired.
  • Obeying all traffic laws.
  • Wearing protective gear, including a helmet that is DOT-complaint.
  • Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and accessories to be more visible, especially after dark.
  • Avoiding bad weather rides.
  • Always use turn signals any time you change lanes or make a turn, even if you don’t believe others will see.
  • Combine turn signals on your motorcycle and hand signals to ensure you are getting sufficient attention.
  • Carefully choose your lane, and ensure that you select the lane where your motorcycle is the most visible.

Drivers are also given advice by the NHTSA, some of which (like not driving distracted) is the same as the biker’s list. However, drivers were advised specifically to:

  • Leave a full lane width for motorcyclists, even if it seems you have enough space.
  • Check blind spots carefully before pulling into or out of traffic because motorcyclists can be missed more easily in a blind spot.
  • Understand  the unique features of motorcycles. For example, turn signals don’t turn off automatically on most bikes, so you cannot assume a turn signal always means that the motorcycle will turn. Furthermore, even a tiny bump or pothole on the road can be a big deal to a motorcyclist and could cause a loss of control.

Personal injury lawyers in Riverside can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 or visit www.dancarlton.com to schedule a free consultation. 

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Feb 2014

Irvine Traffic Accident Risks – New Test for Fatigue

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, but is harder to prevent because there is no test to prove a driver is fatigued.  Although there is no law in California to prevent motorists from driving while drowsy, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has engaged in numerous public-education campaigns, including a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, to try to prevent motorists from endangering their own lives or the lives of others. 

Unfortunately, drowsy driving education has only limited effectiveness at stopping accidents.  Drivers need to be more aware of just how dangerous it can be to drive while fatigued, and law enforcement and legislatures need an effective way to prevent motorists from operating vehicles when they are too tired.  Research out of Australia could make a difference, by making it possible to develop an accurate real-time test for poor alertness.

A test of driver fatigue could not only make it possible for laws to be passed to prevent drowsy driving, but it could also make it easier for victims to pursue a drowsy driving claim. Victims today must prove a driver is negligent or careless to be compensated. A car accident lawyer in Irvine can help. Victims of collisions with fatigued drivers can contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton for help.

Test Could Check Driver’s Alertness 

As Phys.org reports, Monash University in Australia has launched the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity. The research center is an alliance of technology companies, employers, regulators and academics that have come together to develop new devices, technologies and systems to reduce the risks of driving while fatigued.  The centre has been funded with more than $14.48 million and is the first research institution in the world that is focused on tackling problems of sleep disruption.

Among the projects the Centre plans is to work on research related to new biomarkers of alertness. Using these biomarkers, it may be possible to develop tools that accurately measure a person’s alertness in real-time.  The benefits to employers are touted, since the test would make it possible to assess a worker’s alertness level before he operates machinery or before he gets behind the wheel. However, if effective, its use could go far beyond the employment context. A driver involved in a crash where drowsy driving is suspected could, perhaps, be administered the saliva or sweat test and the results could provide conclusive evidence that the motorist was too fatigued and should not have been driving.

Because motor vehicle accident victims must prove the other driver was unreasonably careless or violated safety rules, a test showing drowsiness or critical lapses in alertness could make it easier for individuals hurt in a collision to take action.

A car accident lawyer in Irvine can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 or visit www.dancarlton.com to schedule a free consultation. 

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Jan 2014

New Data on Brain Injuries Cause for Concern

Head injuries are among the most serious injuries that you can suffer in an accident.  As the CDC reports, brain injuries are a contributing factor to just over 30 percent of all injury-related deaths in the United States every single year, and the direct and indirect costs of brain injuries exceeds $76.5 billion annually. 

When many people think of brain injuries, they think of serious head trauma that results in a loss of consciousness or a coma. While it is true that these types of injuries occur often, an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer in Riverside knows that the most common type of brain injury is actually a concussion. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that around 75 percent of all brain injuries that occur each year are concussions.  The prevalence of concussions among injury victims makes a new study published in the medical journal Neurology especially troubling.

Concussions Can Cause Lasting Changes to the Brain

To determine the impact of a concussion, researchers from the University of New Mexico conducted a study in which victims of recent head injuries were given a special type of brain scan called a diffusion MRI. A total of 26 patients who had experienced mild concussions were tested both 14 days after their initial injury and again four months after their injuries occurred. The diffusion MRI is a medical test that allows the mapping of the diffusion process of water and other molecules in biological tissue. The same tests were performed on another 26 participants in the study who had not experienced brain injuries in the past.

The diffusion MRI revealed that the gray matter in the prefrontal cortex was still damaged in the concussion patients even four months after the original trauma had occurred. Standard MRI tests and CT-scans likely would not reveal the damage, but the diffusion MRI better reflects the underlying structure and architecture of the brain. As a result, it was possible to see that the gray matter in the brains of concussion victims had around 10 percent more fractional anisotrophy than the brains of the control subjects. It is not clear whether this increased FA is a sign of the lingering effect of fluid accumulating in the brain because of the concussion; if the increased FA is a result of a change in the shape of the brain’s structural cells; or if the increased FA is a sign of healing.

The study did, however, suggest that the difference in brain matter also translated to a difference in behavior. When the study subjects underwent the diffusion MRI, they were also given behavioral and memory tests at the same time. The people with the concussions performed slightly worse on both tests that measure memory and tests that measure attention, which is consistent with previous data on concussions.

The news that even a simple concussion can have a lasting impact on the brain’s structure and on cognitive function is disturbing. It is important for victims of all brain injuries to understand the extent of damage their injuries caused before accepting a settlement and while pursuing a claim for injury compensation so they can ensure they receive full compensation for the extent of injury suffered.

The Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton has offices in Riverside, CA. Call 949.757.0707 today to schedule a free consultation.

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Dec 2013

Should the News Media Use the Term “Accident” To Describe Car Crashes?

Traffic collisions happen frequently and many crash incidents are reported by the local news media and even occasionally by the national news media if the incident is an especially devastating one. When these traffic collisions are reported, one of the most common terms that is used to describe them is “accident.” 

Recently, however, the DC Streets Blog published an article urging the Associated Press to remove the term “accidents” from the Associated Press Style Guide. The AP-style guide is used by journalists and sets the standard for accepted and conventional word usage. The DC Streets Blog believes that the term “accidents” should be dropped and that instead the style guide should list “collision” as the preferred term for journalists to use.

Why Not Use the Word “Accident?”

The argument for changing the word “accident” to “collision” is a simple one: accident suggests that no one was to blame and that “traffic injuries and deaths are just random, unpreventable occurrences.” However, experienced car crash lawyers in Riverside know that the reality is that accidents often aren’t just random events that are beyond people’s control.  Instead, car wrecks happen because drivers make a choice to be careless, to disobey safety rules or to engage in driving behaviors that take their lives (and the lives of others on the road) into their hands.

The use of the term accidents is described as being part of a “cultural permissiveness towards dangerous driving,” that is believed to contribute to the loss of life that comes from traffic crashes.

While this may seem like a semantic argument, several police stations across the country have already recognized that words have power and have made changes. The New York Police Department (NYPD) adopted a policy early in 2013 to stop using the term “accident” as a descriptor for car crashes.  The police department in the city of San Francisco also made the change and stopped using “accident” several months after the NYPD made their shift.

Most major news media outlets, however, continue to use the word accident as the default term when car wrecks happen. This word tends to be used even in situations where it is clear that one driver made an incredibly dangerous decision that led to the loss of life. For example, major news media outlets including the New York Times have used the term “accident” even in vehicular homicide cases where someone has been killed and the driver responsible for the death is being prosecuted and faces lengthy jail time for his reckless and dangerous disregard for human life.

News media outlets likely use the term “accident” because the Associated Press Style Guide, the preeminent guide for journalists, does not have an official entry on the issue. The official style guide also does not have an entry for “crash,” or “collision.” While the supplemental “Ask the Editor Guide” does advise against using the term “accident,” because doing so could suggest a conclusion to the reader, there are inconsistencies. The AP Style Guide entry for “Total, Totaling, Totaled,” for example, gives an example of the use of the word totaled that ends with the phrase “killed in holiday traffic accidents.”

The AP could remove examples like this from its style guide and could create a simple entry in the guide to make clear that traffic crashes should be called “collisions,” so that causality is implied. This change in the way that crashes are reported could help to shape perceptions of traffic violence and could perhaps make the roads safer over time.

If you’ve been injured, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

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Nov 2013

Don’t Reduce Auto Insurance Coverage to Save Costs

Car insurance is expensive in California. In fact, CNN indicates that the average driver in the United States has seen their auto insurance premiums rise 23 percent in the past five years, even though inflation has risen only seven percent during this same time period. The average 40-year-old driver now pays between $1,510 and $2,700 per year for auto insurance, which can take a big chunk out of any family’s monthly budget.

Because of the high costs of auto insurance, some drivers are considering reducing their coverage limits or even dropping some types of auto insurance coverage altogether. While this can seem like a good idea at the time, it can get you into big trouble if an auto accident injury lawsuit is filed and if you are to blame for the crash. This is why CNN warns that drivers need to be very cautious about reducing their insurance coverage and need to truly understand the protections that they are giving up.

Insurance Coverage You Don’t Want to Cut

CNN highlights several key areas where you want to make sure you do not cut key coverage. These types of insurance coverage include:

  • Liability insurance coverage: Liability coverage pays for any legal fees you incur if you are accused of causing an accident, and also covers the amount of compensation that you are required to pay to other motorists to cover their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages. Because a car accident can cause extensive injury and costly medical expenses and losses, you should usually have more than the state minimum of liability coverage. Experts recommend having $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident of coverage. Having less means you could end up facing the loss of personal assets to pay car accident compensation if you cause a crash.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage: This type of coverage protects you in case you become involved in a car accident and the at-fault driver has no insurance or has an insufficient amount of insurance coverage to pay for all of your losses. Without sufficient uninsured motorist coverage, you could incur hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in medical bills and have no real way to pay them. Suing an uninsured or underinsured driver personally is usually a losing battle because that driver may have limited assets or no assets to cover your losses – leaving you to try to foot the bill.
  • Repair coverage: Many insurance policies specify new factory parts only if a car is new. You can extend your coverage to ensure that you always have the ability to access the repair parts that will work best in your vehicle.

Car accidents cannot always be prevented, despite your best efforts to drive carefully. Insurance is supposed to protect you and it is very important that you don’t end up cutting costs in a way that puts your finances at risk.

If you’ve been injured, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

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Oct 2013

Undocumented Immigrants With Driver’s Licenses Could Reduce Uninsured Motorist Accidents

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into effect a law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a license to drive in the state of California. The new policy changes a 1993 law prohibiting undocumented immigrants from attaining a license and advocates argue that the new law will reduce the overall number of accidents and will result in a decline in the number of uninsured drivers. 

Uninsured driver accident lawyers in Irvine know that unlicensed drivers are overrepresented in fatal car accidents by a ratio of five to one. Unlicensed drivers are also unable to obtain insurance, which is a major concern in California where Think Progress reports that insurance companies paid $634 million in claims for uninsured motorist accidents in 2009. With the new rule change, these costs and the risk of fatal crashes should decline.

Preventing Uninsured Driver Accidents

In California, there are an estimated 24 million licensed drivers and two million unlicensed motorists. CBS News reports that as many as 1.4 million of the unlicensed motorists are undocumented immigrants who can now apply for licenses under the new law. The licenses will become available beginning January of 2015 and will carry a distinction on the front of the card indicating they are used for driving purposes only and not as federal identification.

California is the eleventh state to take this step, with seven of the other states changing their laws just in the past year to make it possible for undocumented immigrants to obtain a license.  Colorado and Oregon are among the states that have preceded California in granting licenses to individuals who are unable to prove citizenship status. The action is also not the first taken by California to make licensing more available, as the governor signed a bill last year permitting young undocumented immigrants granted temporary legal status by President Obama to obtain a license.

In California, as in other states, all undocumented immigrants wishing to obtain a driver’s license will need to pass the standard written test and the standard driving test. This will ensure that the motorists have the skills necessary to drive safely and obey traffic laws on California’s roads. This alone should significantly reduce the number of accidents, as an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Study revealed that 18.2 percent of all accidents nationwide between 2007 and 2009 involved a driver who had no valid driver’s license. These accidents caused a total of 21,049 deaths.

Because having a license makes it possible to secure insurance, the high costs of uninsured motorist coverage should decline, and motorists involved in an accident with an undocumented immigrant will no longer be forced to turn to their own insurance companies for coverage.

The granting of licenses to undocumented immigrants is also projected to reduce the number of hit-and-run crashes in California. In 2010 alone, 14,735 hit-and-run crashes were reported by the California Highway Patrol, leaving 147 dead and 19,009 injured.  With fewer unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the roads, these numbers may also decline.

If you’ve been injured, personal injury lawyers in Irvine can help. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

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Sep 2013

California Traffic Accidents — Technology No Substitute for Attentive Drivers

Any auto accident lawyer in Irvine knows that the majority of car accidents are caused by human error. This has raised an important question: can technology, and ultimately self-driving cars, help to reduce the number of accidents that occur on the roads?  Some predict that it can. And we may not have to wait very long to find out the answer to this question, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nissan pledges to market an affordable “self-driving” car by 2020. 

According the Journal article, the executive vice president of Nissan demonstrated how a prototype of one of the self-driving vehicles, the Leaf electric car, could drive itself and respond to various situations on the road. The executive vice president also commented that most of the technology solutions needed for self-driving cars are already available and that the next big hurdle to overcome is the regulatory framework.

Could Self Driving Cars Reduce Accidents?

Part of the demonstration of the prototype vehicle involved showing how a combination of radar sensors, cameras and laser guidance systems could be used to allow the car to drive itself and avoid and interact with various obstacles on a track.

The vehicle was able to slow down and stop at a red light; to swerve to the left in order to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who jumped in front of the car; and to turn right in response to a turn signal, as well as simulate getting off at a freeway exit.

The sensors that allowed the car to do all of these things were built into the body, unlike prototype models currently being produced by Google that have a rotating device on the roof.  While the Nissan technology is still under development, a lot of the technology that will be necessary to make self driving vehicles a common reality already exists.

For example, cruise control systems that automatically adjust speed to stay a set distance behind cars; and brakes that stop automatically are common today, as are cars that can help to ensure a vehicle stays within its lane.  The self-driving cars will be an extension of these existing technologies that hopefully will allow for fully autonomous driving.

Of course, it is important that this technology exists not just to make self-driving cars possible but also that it makes self-driving cars safe. Some believe that self-driving cars could be safer than those driven by people as self-driving cars aren’t prone to human error.  However, questions remain regarding what happens if a self driving car is involved in an auto accident.

Under current laws in most states, a driver who causes a wreck is responsible for a crash while a manufacturer of a car is responsible only if there was some defect or problem with the vehicle. When the car is self driving, questions could be raised regarding whether the car manufacturer is responsible for all accidents that result when the car is driving itself or whether the owner of the car would still be at fault if something went wrong and a crash occurred.

If you’ve been injured an auto accident lawyer in Irvine can help. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

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