Are Autonomous Trucks Putting Drivers at Risk?

Are Autonomous Trucks Putting Drivers at Risk?

Are Autonomous Trucks Putting Drivers at Risk?

By: Enrico Tomasso

A groundbreaking trucking facility in Villa Rica, Georgia, has opened its doors to autonomous trucks, marking a significant development in the world of transportation. These self-driving behemoths, weighing in at a staggering 80,000 pounds, are set to revolutionize the heavily traveled Dallas-to-Atlanta corridor. However, as driverless technology continues to evolve, concerns over the safety of autonomous vehicles loom large.

Recently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles raised alarms by shutting down Cruise autonomous taxis in San Francisco. Numerous incidents involving the vehicles prompted authorities to declare them an “unreasonable risk to the public.” Meanwhile, Tesla, a prominent player in the autonomous vehicle market, is grappling with its own safety concerns. The company has recalled over 2 million vehicles following reports of a defective system designed to ensure driver attention while using Autopilot.

The Washington Post revealed a significant number of fatal and serious accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot feature. Tragic incidents, such as a collision with a semi-truck in Florida and a failure to slow down for a school bus in North Carolina, highlight the potential dangers posed by autonomous vehicles.

Legal experts are also sounding the alarm. Amy Witherite, founder of a law firm specializing in vehicle accident cases, warns that accidents involving autonomous trucks have far-reaching consequences. In the event of fatalities, severe injuries, or property damage, determining accountability becomes significantly more challenging. Martin Futrell, an attorney with the Witherite Law Group, adds that the involvement of multiple parties and complex technology amplifies the likelihood of finger-pointing and increased litigation.

With the exponential growth of autonomous vehicles, new levels of expertise will be required from attorneys. Litigation involving these accidents will necessitate a diverse range of experts in various technological fields, including computers, software, and sensors. Defendants may seek to protect their proprietary technology or pursue confidential settlements, hindering plaintiffs’ access to critical information necessary for determining liability.

While autonomous driving technology has made strides towards improving safety, it remains imperfect, especially when it comes to high-speed operations involving massive tractor-trailers in close proximity to other vehicles. Innocent drivers and passengers may bear the consequences unless further advancements are made to address existing safety concerns.


Q: What are the main concerns regarding autonomous trucks and vehicles?
A: The main concerns include potential safety risks, accidents and fatalities involving autonomous vehicles, and difficulties in determining liability in case of accidents.

Q: Has there been any governmental intervention to address these concerns?
A: Yes, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has shut down problematic autonomous taxis, while there have been attempts in Congress to limit the availability of information through binding confidential arbitration.

Q: How does the involvement of autonomous trucks affect liability determination in accidents?
A: Accidents involving autonomous trucks can complicate liability determination due to the complexity of the technology involved and the potential involvement of multiple parties.

Q: Are there any concerns about the technology used in autonomous vehicles?
A: Yes, concerns exist regarding the reliability and effectiveness of the technology, with incidents reported where the software failed to operate as intended or recognize potential hazards.

– The Washington Post: Tesla drivers run Autopilot where it’s not intended — with deadly consequences
– Business Wire: Attorney Amy Witherite Warns About the Danger of Driverless Cars and Trucks on Georgia Roads

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