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Software could prevent accidents involving self-driving cars

As self-driving technology becomes available to more drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere, many are becoming complacent by trusting the software to operate their cars without them. Some motorists allow the self-driving technology to take over while they watch movies, play games or even take a nap.

However, drivers should never take their eyes off the road. In fact, self-driving cars have already become involved in fatal accidents when their drivers failed to pay attention to the road in front of them. The most notable accident involved a self-driving car owned by Uber. The car struck and killed a pedestrian who was not in a crosswalk. It was found that the driver had been distracted just moments prior to the accident.

Some have argued that the solution is to use software to detect whether or not the driver is paying attention to the road. A camera in the car would analyze the driver's head pose, whether or not his or her eyes were on the road and eye closure rate. In fact, Cadillacs that come equipped with the "Super Cruise" mode already do this. If the camera in the car determines that the driver is not looking at the road, the steering wheel flashes and an alarm goes off. If this does not get the driver's attention, the vehicle will slow to a stop.

If a person suffers car accident injuries after becoming involved in a crash with an autonomous vehicle, he or she could potentially hold both the driver and the manufacturer of the car responsible. A personal injury attorney may review the evidence and help file claims against the defendants. The injured person could seek compensation for damages, including medical costs and other economic losses.

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