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Self-driving cars could pose new safety concerns

Many people in West Virginia are curious about how developing technologies around autonomous vehicles could affect roadway safety. Scientists believe that it may be possible for these technologies to make the roadways safer while eliminating unnecessary congestion. An increasing number of auto and tech companies have joined the competition to produce autonomous vehicles ready for the market. At the same time, there is a significant amount of development work, as well as regulatory changes, that will be needed before self-driving cars are ready to hit the streets.

Some people have raised concerns about safety. Limited autonomous functions are available on vehicles already, and some have been linked to dangerous or even deadly collisions. In May 2016, a Tesla driver died after his vehicle crashed into a truck while he was using the car's Autopilot system. Relying on the system's braking capacities, he did not stop before hitting the truck. Tesla has warned against using Autopilot as a true autonomous system, noting that drivers should remain in control of their cars at all times.

More attention was drawn to autonomous vehicle safety after a self-driving Uber vehicle in Arizona collided with a pedestrian in Arizona, killing her. The company paused its on-road testing after the incident but started it again in December 2018, launching public road tests in Pittsburgh. Some reports have raised worries that manufacturers may be speeding through safety testing in a race to put self-driving cars on the roads.

While the future of autonomous vehicles may be both exciting and concerning, human-driven cars continue to have serious motor vehicle accidents on a daily basis. Many of these crashes are caused by dangerous or negligent driving. People who have been injured in a collision caused by someone else might work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.

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