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Self-driving trucks may soon be on New Mexico roads

Self-driving cars are more prevalent than ever. And with several auto manufacturers developing autonomous vehicles and public interest at an all-time high, self-driving cars may soon be on even more roadways.

But self-driving technology is not limited to cars. Many other types of vehicles can be equipped to be autonomous. This raises major concerns about safety--especially when it comes to installing autonomous technology in large commercial trucks.

The dangers of self-driving trucks

Large trucks pose major safety hazards to other vehicles on the road. Because of their size and weight, they can cause severe injuries when involved in a crash. It is possible that self-driving technology could reduce the incidence of truck-related accidents, but this is far from certain. As shown from the recent fatality involving a self-driving car in Arizona, autonomous vehicles are not perfect. They are still capable of injuring, and even killing, motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Self-driving trucks may be safer, but they would still cause catastrophic damage in an accident. Sending commercial trucks with technology that has not yet been perfected raises concerns from a safety perspective and a legal perspective.

Self-driving trucks and lawsuits

When a self-driving vehicle is involved in an accident, it raises important questions of liability. Because the vehicle is autonomous, which party is responsible for a crash: The person behind the wheel, or the company that manufactured the vehicle? Some liability could also fall to trucking companies, if they deploy self-driving vehicles that are not safe. 

There are going to be plenty of legal questions for drivers and their lawyers. In self-driving truck accidents, there could be grounds for lawsuits based on both personal injury and product liability. For now, all that is certain is that motorists who are injured by trucks, whether human-controlled or self-driving, still have the option of filing lawsuits to recoup their damages.

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