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Self-Driving Cars: So Far, Humans Cause Most Autonomous Vehicle Accidents

Since 2014, all but one of the 34 reported accidents involving self-driving cars — also called autonomous vehicles, or AVs — on California roads have had a human at fault, according to the Axios news service. Having culled through California accident incident reports, Axios found that in 13 of the accidents, the AV was stopped when rear-ended by a human-driven vehicle.

In 12 of the accidents, the AV was traveling at less than 10 miles per hour when a human-driven vehicle crashed into it. Only in six AV-involved accidents was the self-driving car traveling at more than 10 mph when hit by a car driven by a human.

In the remaining four accidents, the AV was actually at fault, but in only one of those four was the AV in autonomous mode. The other three accidents occurred while the AVs were in manual mode with a human driver behind the wheel.

Many experts are convinced the greatest threat to safety as the vehicle population transitions from human-driven to self-driving cars will be the vehicles with humans in full control.

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Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street Performance Compact magazines. He supplied financial content and automotive-industry analysis to Bankrate.com and Interest.com.

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