Thought of the Day: Insurance Liability for Self-Driving Crashes

Welcome to Thought of the Day! Join Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield as she poses a thought of the day inspired by recent news events.

Today, she’s asking who should be liable in accidents involving autonomous vehicles being driven in autonomous mode? Should it be the driver, the vehicle, or the actual manufacturer of the car?

Watch the video above and leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Albemarle

    If the car is a level 4 autonomous car, it may not even have a steering wheel, so for cars certified to this level, while operating under car control, fault does not lie with the driver.

    All other instances, including the very poorly named Tesla ‘autonomous mode’, which is just level 2, i.e. light years from level 4, it is the driver’s fault. Tesla has completely confused this area with their naming of the system, to the point that their drivers seem to think they have no responsibility when it’s operating in its level 2 mode. In reality, the driver needs to know they are responsible 100% of the time, regardless of which mode they are operating in.

  • David Galvan

    Slightly off-topic, but on the subject of insurance for electric cars:

    Just sharing a lesson learned from a recent experience of mine. Could be useful for other Leaf owners to know.

    My 2014 Leaf S was recently “totaled” in an accident on the freeway. I was not at fault (I was stopped in traffic and was hit from behind).

    Our settlement for the total loss was $11,700 based on the actual market value, but, due to depreciation, we owed more than that, about $13,900.

    So, through no fault of our own, we lost our car and still had to pay a net $2200 for the car we no longer had. If we had gap insurance, that $2200 would be forgiven.

    Lesson learned: if you are going to purchase a new non-Tesla EV, get gap insurance.

    Here’s my blog post about it: