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Self Driving Car Accidents:
As we move towards self-driving cars one question we have not asked and explored is how long do these cars last. Ford came out recently and said their self driving cars only last four years. However, most Americans do not have the means to afford a new car every four years. What responsibility does Ford or other automakers have to remove this vehicles from the road once they reach four years?
Will Self Driving Cars Create More Economic Inequality?
The used vehicle market is how many Americans acquire their cars. Yet, what will happen when a self driving car is three years old. Will someone be willing to obtain the car for the last year of service. If the self driving car is involved in a motor vehicle accident who should be held liable? Should it be the owner of the vehicle or the manufacturer? Will car insurance companies even cover a self-driving car when it gets older than four years. Will the federal or state governments subsidize the cost of these vehicles even though they might be priced above what a working family can afford?
Self Driving Car Crashes
Since these vehicles are programmed by humans the algorithm carries in it, the implicit and explicit bias that the programmer have. We have seen how these cars fail to see black people. We have seen this same structural racism in facial recognition software, and in risk assessments for parole and bail. As a Phoenix car accident lawyer I am concerned that black pedestrians are going to be more at risk than other people, because of this bias hard-coded into the vehicle.
In Arizona a white woman was killed in a crash with a self-driving Uber vehicle. The woman, Elaine Herzberg, was crossing the street and the car’s sensors did not identify her. She was housing-insecure and might have been dressed with clothes that had been subjected to the elements for a longer period of time. Her skin most likely was darker due to exposure to the Arizona sun. Many Phoenix car accident attorneys are concerned about these self-driving cars because the Valley is ground-zero for this technology. Few acknowledge the racial disparity that this might cause and how it will affect Arizona’s black population.
What Can We Do?
We need activist to hold our elected lawmakers and the technology companies accountable for the bias that is manifesting in their products. It is unfair, unjust, and unacceptable that my daughter is at more risk of harm, due to the color of her skin than the Governor’s daughter or granddaughter.
We must challenge the auto manufacturers to make a vehicle that can last longer than four years and keep our lawmakers from providing ridiculous handouts for people to purchase these vehicles. I know that these vehicles can be an incredible product that improves the lives of our older adults and people with disabilities. Yet, if these cars cannot see black children playing in the street, what good are they?
As an attorney, activist and advocate I want to make sure that we limit the number of Phoenix self driving car accidents while providing a product that is sustainable, affordable and accessible to all budgets.