Are passengers and pedestrians safer with Google’s self-driving car on the road?

Are passengers and pedestrians safer with Google’s self-driving car on the road?

Is the new Google self-driving car the wave of the future? Many experts think it just may be. The designers at Google promise that it is. The idea is to remove the human error factor and replace it with reliable technology to eliminate the leading cause of automobile accidents: the driver.

Studies performed in both the United States and the United Kingdom report that 90 percent of auto collisions were caused by driver error. If the driver is eliminated, it follows that 90 percent of collisions may be eliminated as well.

How does removing the driver make the car safer?

First, the major issues of driver error are removed. Distracted drivers are going to be far less of a problem with an autonomous (self-driving) vehicle. Impaired drivers and texters wouldn’t cause accidents, similar to using public transportation. Inexperienced drivers and those with poor spatial skills also would be less likely to be involved in a collision in an autonomous car.

Passengers still should remain alert enough to hit the stop button in the event of an emergency, but overall, it promises to be a safer journey for all involved.

Additionally, driver blind spots are eliminated. Once the vehicle takes over for the driver, the cameras and sensors built around the vehicle can detect objects up to two football fields in length away. With a human driver, no matter how safely the vehicle is made, some blind spots always remain and hold the potential for damaging collisions involving pedestrians or other vehicles

What are other safety features? 

Its front end is fabricated of compressible foam with a flexible windshield, protecting both passengers and pedestrians in the case of an accident. Additionally, at least while in the trial stages, the speed has been capped at 25 miles per hour for the protection of both passengers and pedestrians

Are there any safety concerns with the Google Car?

As with any new type of technology, the Google self-driving car and other vehicles like it will have bugs to work out. For example, how will it cope with traditional vehicles on the same roadways? The self-driving car may eliminate human error in its vehicle, but there will still be plenty of other humans on the road operating their own cars. Can autonomous cars survive that type of collision?

In addition, though human error may have been eliminated in these vehicles, computer error has not. What would happen in the event of a computer malfunction or shutdown? These are all questions that require answers before autonomous vehicles can receive widespread acceptance. Google hopes to begin a pilot program of its self-driving vehicle in California in the next few years; and with any luck, it will be able to resolve these issues.

Currently, four states allow self-driving cars on their roadways: 

  • Florida;
  • Michigan;
  • Nevada; and
  • California.


The Google car may be the wave of the future, but in the here and now, driver error is still a real and devastating problem. If you are a pedestrian or a passenger who has been injured in a vehicle collision, you need to talk to the attorneys at the law firm of Rob Levine & Associates at 800-LAW-1222. Call them today for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. 

Stay Informed with Rob's Newsletter