Many industry observers believe that autonomous transportation is coming in the near future. Self-driving transportation has become all the rage, and in the last year, there have been some major developments both in Nevada and around the country. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Uber has started conducting a major self-driving car experiment; in Colorado Springs, an autonomous delivery truck completed a 120 mile round trip, an American record; and right here in Las Vegas, Nevada, a self-driving shuttle bus launched public test runs on Fremont East, a first in the United States.
In this post, the bus accident lawyers at Ladah Law Firm discuss what we know about self-driving buses in Las Vegas so far, including what these buses have to offer for our city, and the potential risks that may come with them as well. We also want to remind everyone that should you be seriously injured in any type of bus accident, it is imperative that you seek professional legal assistance as soon as possible.
According to reporting from the Las Vegas Sun, Mayor Carolyn Goodman was on board for the first, history-making self-driving bus test run down Fremont Street. The technological achievement of this project cannot be overstated. The autonomous bus was the first to ever successfully operate on a U.S. public road. The bus has the ability to travel up to 27 miles per hour, though during testing it was limited to a speed of 12 miles per hour. The self-driving bus ran along East Fremont Street, three blocks in total, from Las Vegas Boulevard to Eighth Street. Carrying up to 12 passengers at a time, this free shuttle bus was mixed in with normal street traffic. While just a limited test run, there is a little doubt that autonomous bus projects are likely to expand significantly in Southern Nevada in the coming years. Vegas city officials have made public statements touting the benefits of self-driving public transportation options.
This is the question industry safety experts (including our firm) will be watching closely. Theoretically, self-driving buses (and cars) could make our city streets much safer. Bus accidents do remain a major safety problem. According to data provided by the Nevada Department of Transportation, there are more than 500 major bus collisions in the state every year. Driver error is the most common cause of these accidents. In fact, driver error is responsible for the vast majority of all highway accidents. Some studies estimate the 95 percent of auto accidents are caused by a driver’s mistake. Therefore, if done properly, self-driving buses may be able to eliminate many of these errors, thereby dramatically reducing accidents.
That being said, we are still very early in the development of autonomous vehicles. There is no guarantee that self-driving buses will actually make fewer mistakes than do human bus drivers. Indeed, it could be quite the opposite. If the large companies responsible for manufacturing self-driving buses fail to put the proper resources into safety and accident prevention, the number of bus accidents could actually rise. It is critically important that proper attention is given to this issue as autonomous vehicle testing continues and the use of self-driving vehicles expands.
In Nevada, the party that was to blame for a collision is responsible for the crash. In the state, liability for most accident cases, including bus accidents, is established under NRS 41.141. Notably, negligence as a concept is a situationally dependent. Put another way, to prove negligence, you must prove that the defendant failed to live up to their legal duties, causing you harm as a result.
This is an important fact to highlight when thinking about bus accidents, because bus operators are held to heightened legal standards. Under the law, a bus is defined as a ‘common carrier’. This means that operators have an affirmative duty to look out for the health and wellbeing of their customers. Whether the bus is being driven by a person, or being operated autonomously, the entity in charge of the bus must take proactive measures to ensure that all bus passengers, and everyone else in the vicinity, is kept safe.
Of course, staying safe on public transportation is something that you should pay close attention to as well. Too often bus operators fall short of their legal obligations, and while they should be held responsible for that failure, there some things you should avoid doing so that you can protect yourself.
Bus Accident Victims Deserve Fair Compensation
In Nevada, injured bus accident victims are entitled to compensation that is equal in value to the value of their damages. Yet, all too often, fair financial compensation is out of reach for injured victims. This is because bus operators are represented by large insurance companies that work aggressively to reduce a victim’s recovery. Our firm helps injured victims fight back. We can assist you in seeking financial relief for:
Were you severely injured in a Vegas bus crash? We can help. At Ladah Law Firm, our highway accident attorneys have extensive experience handling bus accident injury claims. We have the skills and legal knowledge needed to help you and your family recover the full and fair accident compensation that you deserve.
To set up a free, no obligation review of your accident claim, please do not hesitate to contact us today by calling our firm at (702) 252-0055. From our office in the heart of Las Vegas, we represent bus accident victims throughout Clark County, including in Aliante, Enterprise, Sunrise Manor, Whitney, Henderson, Boulder City, Springs Valley, and Green Valley.