Can Autonomous Truck Hacking Put El Paso Drivers in Danger?
Self-driving cars have brought many exciting possibilities to the roads of America. Autonomous Ubers, delivery trucks, and other vehicles make it possible for persons and goods to safely reach their destinations. But autonomous driving features pose risks as well. The security of self-driving vehicle functions is a new problem that auto manufacturers have never encountered before. Unfortunately, breaches in security can result in car accidents which put all road users in danger. There are many causes of truck accidents, and many parties who may be responsible for your truck accident injuries. An El Paso truck accident attorney can help you explore your legal options.
The New Types of Driving Risks
Drivers have long been familiar with typical driving risks. Speeding, aggressive drivers, poor visibility and adverse weather conditions are all common risk factors for auto accidents, and many drivers are able to identify and respond to these threats appropriately. These risks are out-sized when it comes to large trucks. Just look at the recent fatal El Paso truck accident on I-10. The El Paso Times reports that authorities suspect a large construction vehicle protruding onto the highway was mostly to blame.
But what about new types of threats that drivers have never before encountered? Trucks.com reports that new autonomous features leave large commercial trucks vulnerable to hacking and other cyber attacks. Such attacks have already successfully misdirected aircraft and watercraft. Now, as more and more transportation companies use autonomous navigation and fleets of automated vehicles, the commercial trucking industry could also suffer similar attacks.
Part of what makes commercial trucks so vulnerable to cyber attacks is the value of the cargo they carry. According to the same Trucks.com report, commercial trucks account for approximately $700 million in freight revenue annually. This represents approximately 80 percent of the nation’s annual freight bill. The time, effort and expense of hacking a passenger vehicle may not be worth the payoff, but a hacker could easily recoup these losses by accessing valuable cargo in a large transport vehicle. Unfortunately, large trucks carry the potential to cause the most severe injuries of all auto accidents, due to their size and weight. This makes large trucks both vulnerable to cyber attacks and highly dangerous to nearby drivers.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident Caused by a Cyber Attack?
Self-driving cars and autonomous vehicle features are a new and uncharted area of the law. There are not yet comprehensive statutes which address liability for truck accidents caused by autonomous features. Nonetheless, injury victims still have the right to be compensated for their losses, even when a self-driving vehicle was involved. In some cases, a transportation company may be legally responsible for a truck accident because it failed to take reasonable precautions or implement basic security measures against cyber attacks. In other cases, a driver who was tasked with monitoring the vehicle may be liable for failing to recognize the attack immediately and resume manual control of the vehicle. In rare cases where a hacker is discovered and prosecuted, he or she may be held liable for damage caused by the cyber attack in addition to criminal penalties.
Liability in a particular case will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of the accident. An El Paso truck accident attorney can help guide victims through the claims process, so they can focus on a speedy recovery.