The technology necessary to make self-driving cars is certainly impressive, but owning one of these modern miracles doesn't mean you can kick back and relax while you travel to your destination. As long as you have some degree of control over the vehicle, you can be charged with reckless driving if a law enforcement officer feels the safety or property of others is at risk.
What Happens When Self-Driving Cars Malfunction
Although self-driving cars are a new concept, vehicles have been adding a number of sophisticated driver-assist features in recent years. For example, many newer model vehicles come with collision avoidance technology to automatically apply the brakes when there is an obstacle in your path.
Since the courts have determined that malfunctioning safety features aren't a valid defense to a reckless driving charge, it stands to reason that you'd be held responsible if your self-driving car caused an accident. The computer that operates your car's safety equipment is just a tool. Ultimately, it's your job to pay attention and remain vigilant on the road.
Although a self-driving car's malfunction wouldn't be a good defense to a reckless driving charge, you may have the basis of a valid product liability claim if a defect in the car causes an accident. This would allow you to collect compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the incident. Depending on the circumstances, you might take action against the software developer, vehicle designer, and/or vehicle manufacturer.
Building a Strong Reckless Driving Offense
Many Virginia drivers mistakenly believe a reckless driving ticket is a simple traffic violation. It's actually a misdemeanor criminal offense, which means you'll face hefty fines, potential jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record if convicted.
If you've been charged with reckless driving, it's important to contact an experienced reckless driving attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can work with you to build an aggressive defense, presenting evidence such as speedometer calibration, witness testimony, or proof of improper signage to reduce or drop the charge. Call Virginia reckless driving attorney T. Kevin Wilson today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.