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Accident caused by Google self-driving vehicle

There may be mixed sentiment about the development of autonomous vehicles, especially as information about accidents comes to light. Prior to Feb. 14, Google's self-driving cars had been in 17 accidents, all of which were minor and none of which were caused by the Google vehicles involved. However, a minor accident on Feb. 14 near the company's California headquarters was the first that was deemed to be caused by the company's vehicle.

Sand bags around a storm drain caused the Google vehicle, a Lexus SUV, to move back to the center of its lane after initially moving to the right for a turn. A bus was following, and it collided with the Google SUV, striking the left side. Google representatives indicate that their vehicle is partly responsible because of its unexpected movement, and there will be efforts to make programming corrections that will account for the probable actions of large vehicles. The autonomous vehicles have logged more than 1 million miles on the nation's roads, and the company continues to make adjustments to improve the safety of these vehicles.

Auto accidents continue to be a major point of concern for those charged with oversight of safety on the nation's roads. These issues will also be a concern to providers of motor vehicle insurance. In some cases, state lawmakers may even take action to dictate certain safety requirements for the operation of autonomous automobiles in their jurisdictions.

An accident caused by a vehicle can be attributed to various factors, including driver errors, mechanical problems, and road conditions that are out of the control of those involved. If a vehicle defect is deemed to be responsible for an injury accident, liability for damages could be assigned to the manufacturer. A thorough mechanical inspection after an accident could be important for a plaintiff needing to prove that a vehicle failed to operate safely because of a mechanical or programming flaw.

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