Rhode Island Personal Injury Law Update: Self Driving Shuttles Hits the Roads of Providence

May 22nd, 2019

Despite fatal car crashes and other personal injuries around the country, Providence Rhode Island has approved six autonomous transport shuttles. These shuttles will function like any other vehicle – waiting at crosswalks, stopping at lights, and breaking for any unexpected hazards. These vehicles will also have 30 different sensors, radars, and cameras that allow a 360 degree rotation.

Little Roady will be a free, experimental service that will operate seven days a week, with 12 stops between Providence Station and Olneyville Square. Peter Alviti, director of the RIDOT said that those five miles are the longest public transit route for self-driving vehicles in the country.

As a Rhode Island personal injury attorney who handles car accidents everyday, this is a potentially troubling development.

Driverless Cars Personal Injury: Risks Abound

It is unclear how the “Little Roady” service offers anything new to our citizens that RIPTA or other local services do not.  It certainly is easy enough to provide these routes with traditional drivers (thereby actually adding or keeping jobs).

On the other hand, I have blogged before on the costs of driver less cars across the country in terms of personal injuries and car accidents.  While driverless cars, electric scooters, and bikes may be the future, politicians and the like still need to figure out how to enforce safety.  And the fact remains, this technology is simply not proven as safe yet.

Little Roady will be a step for Rhode Island to join the rise of technological advances, but the safety of our citizens and drivers should be a first priority before anything.

I recently returned from a legal seminar where personal injury and driverless cars was a hot topic.  Our industry continues to urge lawmakers to force the for profit companies to slow down and to be held accountable for design flaws, failures to warn, breakdowns, and other problems that lead to car accident and personal injury law claims.

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