Between May 15, 2020, and July 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported about 400 autonomous vehicle crashes. These accidents occurred when cars used Autopilot, Full Self-Driving, Traffic Aware Cruise Control or other autonomous systems during the accident.
In these 400 autonomous vehicle crashes, five people were killed and six others were seriously hurt. As for fully autonomous vehicles, those that do not have a driver behind the wheel, there were only 130 crashes, but none resulted in serious injuries.
About 273 reportedly involved Tesla automobiles, though U.S. safety regulators said the data did not support any conclusion about whether Teslas are less safe than other vehicles because the numbers are not weighted.
How many vehicles on the road have these autonomous systems?
According to the NHTSA, Tesla accounts for over 800,000 of these vehicles. Honda has 6 million, and there are more than 100 companies that already produce either fully autonomous vehicles or vehicles with semi-autonomous systems.
Data is not exhaustive, all-inclusive or weighted
Not every autonomous vehicle manufacturer or developer is required to report its accident statistics to the NHTSA. Those that do report their crash data do not report statistics such as the miles driven, how often the technology is used, how many people have access to it, or other information needed to identify whether vehicles from one manufacturer are more dangerous than those from others.
Nonetheless, the NHTSA has issued recalls and opened investigations and inquiries based on the information that is currently provided. The NHTSA admits that even more data will likely be required in the future.
Autonomous vehicle collisions versus normal car crashes
A key thing to remember about this new wave of autonomous vehicles is that the law is the same for those collisions as it is with any other traditional car accident. Specifically, a personal injury case is filed based on the driver’s negligence. Now, that negligence could be in how they used the autonomous system, and there are additional potentially responsible parties, like the manufacturer themselves, if a product defect caused the accident. However, this is already established law. Those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident can speak to an attorney to learn how the law may apply to their unique circumstances.