The common use of app-based taxi services like Uber by Indiana residents has resulted in the company now employing self-driving vehicles to provide their service in certain areas of the state. Although the company began by contracting with individual vehicle owners who used their rides as a personal business, the demand is such now that Uber has determined that automated vehicles could do the job just as efficiently. That now appears to be flawed thinking, and those who do not utilize designated crosswalks could find themselves in a dangerous situation when crossing a roadway.
Scanning the roadway
The modern technology loaded in self-driving vehicles has proven to be largely effective in most situations. The vehicles scan the road, typically on a well-illuminated highway or during the day, and then brake automatically based on the detection of an obstacle on the road ahead. However, according to some personal injury cases where individuals were struck while crossing a roadway in a remote location, the vehicles have shown difficulty in detecting the individual.
Relying on a comparative negligence defense
The primary reason that Uber uses automated vehicles is the potential for a comparative negligence defense in accidents. Pedestrians do not always have the legal right-of-way when being struck by a vehicle, and they are also evaluated for personal contribution to injury just like drivers in an accident. Luckily in Indiana, the comparative fault standard for claim denial is set at 51%, which means those involved in an equally shared fault accident can still be compensated for half of their total accident injury damages.
It is important for all pedestrians in Indiana to be aware that they may not be fully protected by personal injury law when they cross a highway outside of a designated crosswalk, and especially at night on an open highway. Always be aware of the surroundings, and only cross in obviously safe situations.