Drivers in California and throughout America may be confused about what autonomous vehicles are actually capable of. There are five levels of automation, with the highest level reserved for vehicles that can truly drive themselves with no human engagement. Currently, most autonomous systems are at level two, which means that a human operator must still be paying attention at all times. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study featuring 2,000 drivers to see what they knew about current autonomous technology.
Of those who participated, almost half said that they could keep their hands off of the steering wheel while using Tesla's Autopilot feature. This was partially because they believed that the name implied that the car could do the driving for them. Advertising from companies such as Tesla and Mercedes have further led consumers to believe that their vehicles can drive for them.
However, the IIHS found that teaching people about the various advanced auto features doesn't always help. The institute showed 80 people a video from Mercedes touting the features of the 2017 E-Class, and it gave 40 people advanced training on the vehicle's cluster icons. Ultimately, the experiment found that those who received the advanced training were just as confused as those who hadn't been given any additional information about the vehicle.
Anyone who is hurt in a car accident may be entitled to damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, a financial award may be obtained through a negotiated settlement. An attorney could show that negligence led to the crash by using photos or videos from the crash scene. Witness statements or police reports might also be used to show that the at-fault driver was tired, drunk or distracted when an accident took place.