Google has been one of the leading proponents of self-driving cars and autonomous vehicle systems, and the California-based company hopes that this kind of technology will one day make auto accidents caused by human error a thing of the past. Experts in the field understand that autonomous vehicle technology will not be widely accepted by the public until safety concerns have been overcome, and they are particularly worried about the negative publicity that would follow a fatal accident involving a self-driving car.
A 43-year-old male employee of a CarMax dealership in Ontario died on Feb. 23 while riding along on a customer's test drive of a Corvette. A sergeant with the Ontario Police Department said the vehicle collided with a tree after the driver lost control on Mercedes Lane. Witnesses claimed to have seen the car speeding at 70 mph just before the crash.
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety into the effectiveness of sophisticated automobile accident prevention and avoidance systems has found that this technology may reduce rear-end collisions in California and around the country by as much as 40 percent. The nonprofit research organization compared the collision rates of cars with no accident avoidance system, those with a system that provided drivers with an audible warning and those with an automatic braking system.
Many people are killed or seriously injured in California car accidents every year. Though the number of annual traffic fatalities in the U.S. has declined for years, it went up in the first part of 2015. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, there were 9.3 percent more traffic fatalities in the first nine months of 2015 than there were in the comparable period in 2014.
California residents share the roads with many other drivers, but in the future, cars without drivers may be making up part of the traffic. Google's driverless car passed another hurdle in its campaign for approval when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided that if and when driverless cars are on the roads, the software that controls them would be considered to be the 'driver." The news was given to Google on Feb. 4 via a letter from the NHTSA.
Volvo has a reputation for using the number of serious injuries and deaths that occur when its customers drive its vehicles to make them safer. California Volvo owners might be happy to learn that the automaker has promised that, by 2020, they will not suffer serious injuries or deaths in its vehicles.
A "fatigued driver" means exactly what one would think. It is defined as a driver who is tired, to such an extent that it impairs the driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle on a public road.
As winter takes hold, California motorists need to make certain they remain aware of the road conditions when they drive. Many accidents occur even when there is a light dusting of snow or ice at times when drivers may be unaware of the state of the road.
As companies like Google Inc. and General Motors Corp. develop self-driving robotic cars, California has proposed rules to govern autonomous vehicles on public roads. Because of studies that show an accident rate among driverless cars double that of human-operated vehicles, the state has drafted rules requiring that a human be in a robot-operated car and be ready to take over operation at all times.
California car accidents can occur for a multitude of reasons, and no one is immune from the potential of being involved in a crash. In some of these accidents, a famous or prominent person might be involved. A February accident involving the reality television show personality and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner resulted in the death of a woman and five other people suffering injuries.