July 5, 2016

Today, I’d like to address the issue of self-driving automobiles. As a lawyer I go to public places or parties or events and people come up and ask me unusual questions about legal matters. I have to say, one of the most common questions I’ve been drawing recently has to do with the legal liability associated with self-driving automobiles. I happen to be a huge fan of Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. In fact, I own a Tesla, and I’ve driven it. Well I should say it’s driven me several times. In fact, one time I drove my car all the way from Orlando to Tampa. During that time period I never touched the steering wheel. But ask yourself, does that mean if I had been in an accident I could blame the car? Not at all. The law says you must drive your automobile in a reasonable manner. That’s what we refer to as the standard of care. If you happen to be driving a self-driving automobile, or someone driving a self-driving automobile causes an accident with you, there is no defense that the car was doing the driving. In fact, most self-driving automobiles are set up that, at various intervals, the driver has to do something so that they have to interact with the automobile and retain ultimate responsibility for it. Now does that mean that there isn’t going to be litigation for this? Of course, lots of it. In fact, there’s already been one lawsuit filed against Tesla because of an individual who claims the car didn’t do what it said it was going to do on the computer. We’ll have to see how the next couple of years of technology play out when cars, airplanes, and boats start driving themselves. If you have questions about self-driving automobiles or any other interesting legal issue you’d like to discuss or read more about go to www.CorlessBarfield.com or give us a call for a free consultation 813-258-4998.