All of the accidents self-driving cars have had in California were caused by humans.
J Thoendell stashed this in Cars
This week, California’s DMV released reports for the nine accidents involving self-driving cars in the state over the last year. Spoiler: they were all caused by humans.
The first accident happened in October of last year when a human driving a Honda in Palo Alto dinged the side of a Delphi self-driving Audi. The other eight were accidents involving Google’s self-driving Lexus models, not the podlike cars it’s been testing out more recently. The reports show self-driving cars following the rules and yielding to oncoming traffic, but being undermined by careless humans. All of the accidents involved the cars being rear-ended or side-swiped, mostly while in autonomous mode but also sometimes in “human mode.”
Given the more than a million miles self-driving cars have driven, and the way people freak-out when they see a car with a weird self-driving radar on its roof, the low number of accidents speaks to how much better behaved self-driving cars are on the roads than humans. On average, there are 1.10 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2013, according to the NHTSA. With the self-driving car accidents, none were fatal. Most happened at low speeds. The only injury was whiplash for people in a Google Lexus, rear-ended by a Nissan Altima when traffic was stopped at a green light. (They were taken to the hospital, where they were told they were all fine to go back to work.)
Given self-driving cars’ track record so far, my colleague Kevin Roose went so far as to argue that human driving should be banned to pave the way for self-driving cars to become ubiquitous. “Some researchersestimate that, by the middle of this century, self-driving cars could prevent a million traffic deaths a year—making them as important a public health achievement as vaccines,” he wrote.