Technological advances are changing the way lawmakers think about car accident law and about traffic regulation. According to the New York Times, companies like Google know more about traffic patterns and driving behavior than the regulators who are put in charge of solving the city’s problems. In a city like Miami, where traffic leads to accidents and causes endless gridlock, the New York Times reports that cities are calling upon technology companies to help solve their traffic problems.
The federal Department of Transportation recently announced a partnership with the company that owns Google to provide city officials with traffic data to help them better solve problems of gridlock, traffic jams, and accidents. The hope is that with the better data, the cities will be able to find more efficient ways to move goods and people.
Part of the work will involve the anonymous analysis of billions of miles of trips logged in smartphones. The hope is that better tools will be developed to help cities understand where congestion is highest and how these problems can best be solved. Information about where commuters are going can also help city planners find better solutions to common gridlock problems. Computer models may also be able to help city planners find solutions that actually work. For instance, they can model whether a carpool lane would help alleviate congestion, or whether it makes more sense to build a new train line.
Will the new technology be used to help solve Miami’s traffic problems any time soon? Not yet. Miami isn’t on the list of cities scheduled to partner with Apple to find solutions to urban gridlock. Perhaps after other cities test out the partnership, more will join.
The Miami Herald recently reported on another technological advance that could potentially save as many as 31,000 lives each year. If driverless car technology is legalized by government regulators, as many as 94% of car accidents can be prevented. The Miami Herald reported that it is not yet clear when the technology will be allowed to hit the road. At the end of the day, it’s a question of how many driverless car accidents and deaths will be considered acceptable in order to lead to the acceptance of the technology that could potentially save thousands. Most researchers agree that human error is the major contributing factor in car accidents and that driverless cars don’t drink and drive, don’t get sleepy, and aren’t distracted by their cell phones.
Google hopes to put its cars on the road by 2019, but the public and government officials remain anxious. After all, no one wants to be the first death or suffer the first injury in a driverless car.
Technology is changing the way we drive. If driverless cars hit the road, the way that personal injury law is practiced may change. After all, if a driverless car is at fault, who is responsible for paying for the victims’ injuries? The Wolfson Law Firm, L.L.P. is closely following technological advancements and prides itself on offering its clients quality personal injury legal counsel in Miami, Florida.