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Google Computer-Driven Car Brings Motorist Safety Concerns into Question

By Kelly Balamuth on October 28, 2010

How comfortable would you be in a car without a driver? According to a recent news report, Internet search giant Google has been test driving seven computer-driven Toyota Prius cars up and down the California coast. The hands-free system of robot driving relies on video cameras, radar sensors, and laser range finders to operate the vehicle. Given the fact the vehicle is not human-controlled, the question as to whether or not an automated vehicle is ultimately safe is certainly brought into discussion.

According to Google, a human is capable of taking control of the robot-driven car in the event of a computer-related malfunction, but as of yet, no such malfunction has occurred. Thus far, the computer navigated car has been a success, having only been involved in one traffic incident, which occurred when the Google car was rear-ended by a human-driven car traveling behind it. In addition to the ready-to-assist human sitting in the “driver’s” seat during the test runs, software operators also sit in the front passenger seat to monitor the automated vehicle’s performance.

While Google claims that the robot-driven cars will cut down on the number of traffic accidents each year, one must also take into consideration the number of accidents that these cars can potentially cause. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motorists spend approximately 52 minutes on average commuting each day to and from work, so robot cars make perfect sense for freeing up extra time. However, if motorists choose to allow a self-driving cars to transport them, then they will be partaking in some other activity while being driven. Will the motorist really have enough time to react in the event of a software glitch of some kind? With our attention diverted away from the road, are we really safer than we would be otherwise?

While the robot-driven Google car is a good idea in theory, there are many potential risks involved when you take the safety of motorists into careful consideration. The experienced Northern California car accident attorneys at Balamuth Harrington, LLP represent individuals and families of those who have been injured in car accidents caused by another motorist’s negligence. If you’ve been involved in an accident, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today for more information by calling 888-254-1234 for a free consultation. Our skilled Northern California personal injury attorneys will fight to ensure that your rights as a car accident victim are protected.

School Bus Operated by Uncertified Driver Involved in Fatal Crash

By Kelly Balamuth on October 14, 2010

When we send our children off to school in the morning, we put our faith in the school district, assuming that the drivers it employs to transport our children safely are properly trained, have the required credentials, and are capable of safely operating a school bus. One school district in Carroll County, Georgia, recently acknowledged that it allowed a trainee who had not yet achieved full certification to operate a school bus with students on it. Unfortunately, the improperly certified bus driver was at the wheel during a fatal bus crash, and one Carroll County teenager lost his life, according to an AJC.com article.

Reportedly, a total of 13 students were injured during the rollover bus crash that took place on Highway 113. One 17-year-old football player lost his life during the school bus accident. According to a Carroll County schools spokeswoman, the driver was two days away from required testing to determine whether or not he would receive full certification to transport a school bus with students on it. Further investigation revealed the school district had a history of incomplete paperwork filed in regards to the school bus driving certification process.

All school districts nationwide need to run thorough background checks, provide complete and sufficient driver training, and ensure that all legal channels are properly followed; not only to be in compliance with state law, but to guarantee that students are placed in as safe a situation as possible while being transported on buses. If it is determined that a school district negligently places students in harm’s way, then they may be held liable for school bus accidents.

At Balamuth Harrington, LLP, our Northern California car accident attorneys represent victims who have been injured in a variety of vehicular accidents, including school bus accidents. For more information and a free evaluation of your case, please call our offices today at 888-254-1234 and allow an personal injury attorney to protect your rights.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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