When there is an auto accident in New Jersey, the immediate assumption is that it was due to a mistake on the part of the driver. These collisions can cause personal injury and death, so it is important to understand how they happened. Recent improvements in auto manufacturing with advanced technology are expected to improve safety with vehicles becoming increasingly autonomous. However, research indicates that this automation might not be as effective as first thought.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed accidents and how autonomous vehicles might have reacted differently when compared to a human driver. To come to its conclusions, researchers assessed more than 5,000 accidents that were reported to police with at least one vehicle being towed and emergency services called. The accidents were split into five separate categories based on driver behavior.

Perception and sensory issues included mistakes drivers might make such as driving while distracted or not recognizing danger. Prediction errors could be misjudging another vehicle’s speed or not anticipating what other drivers would do. Driver decision and planning errors may involve driving at excessive speed or not fast enough for the conditions. Performing and executing errors involved poor evasive skills and mistakes with controlling the vehicle. Finally, driver incapacitation could involve drugs, alcohol or drowsy driving. The only accidents in these categories that might have been avoided with autonomous vehicles were the perception and sensory crashes at 23% and driver incapacitation at 10%. That leaves two-thirds of accidents that would need specific programming for autonomous vehicles to avoid.

This advanced programming is not yet available in autonomous vehicles. Automakers are still prioritizing speed and convenience instead of addressing driver-related issues. Since auto accidents resulting in personal injury and death are likely to keep happening until these issues are addressed, advancements may not be as effective at preventing crashes. Those who have been in an auto accident may face hospitalization, rehabilitation, lost time at work and long-term medical care. Having legal advice from an experienced law firm may help with pursuing a claim for compensation.