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Study participants choose safer cars over saving lives

New York drivers may have heard that autonomous cars will be available in a few years, but according to the results of one study, it will be necessary to solve some ethical issues first. The study published in the journal Science on June 23 surveyed 1,928 people about six different scenarios involving an autonomous vehicle. For example, one involved a car traveling toward three pedestrians that would be unable to stop in time. There were barriers on either side of the car, so it could not swerve. It had to choose between the pedestrians and the passengers.

More than three-quarters of the respondents felt that the self-driving car should always make the choice that leads to the least loss of life. However, more than 80 percent also said that they would choose to buy a vehicle that always protects the passengers.

One of the study's authors said that that the researchers were surprised by the results and that a regulation in place that did not try to save the passengers in every case might lead to people not buying the cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, revised regulations on self-driving vehicles will be in place this summer.

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries and death in the United States. Many people may think that if they are injured in an accident, the insurance company of the driver responsible for the accident will cover their costs. However, insurance companies may offer little compensation, and a person may go through a long and expensive period of rehabilitation that includes time missed from work. As a result, a injured victim may want to consult an attorney to see if it would be advisable to file a civil lawsuit against the driver.

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