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New tech promises: car accidents thing of the past

Auto manufacturers seek to improve safety with design every year. New York drivers will have noticed that wider social trends undercut the ability of a design change to prevent car accidents. Texting and driving is just the latest example of the negligent driver responsible for a growing number of fatal car accidents.

Many large companies are betting that driverless cars are the next big thing. Safety is a powerful sales point. The Department of Transportation reports that about 94 percent of fatal car accidents are the result of human error. It is conceivable that computers following rules and algorithms could immediately nearly eliminate the risk of a car collision. Some auto manufacturers have signaled the ability to begin rolling out autonomous vehicles as soon as 2021.

A number of factors stand in the way between today's reality and that possible future. One of the larger concerns is over liability. Early autonomous vehicles will share the roads with human drivers. Auto defects that cause car accidents could end up being overlooked with adjusters and others making assumptions about human error.

Regardless of whether predictions of driverless vehicles come true, the fact is motorists must contend with the risks posed by negligent drivers every day. When a collision has been caused by another driver who was distracted by a cellphone, impaired by drugs or alcohol, or traveling too fast for road or weather conditions, occupants of other vehicles who have been injured might face months of expensive medical care. They might want to meet with an attorney to see how they can seek compensation for these and other losses.

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