The one thing all fourteen accidents had in common? Every one of them was caused by a distracted human driver – not by the computer responsible for operating the Google vehicle.
In eleven of the fourteen accidents, the Google car was rear-ended. This includes the most recent accident, where the driver of the car that rear-ended the Google vehicle complained of back and neck pain immediately after the crash. Three Google employees riding in the self-driving car to gather data also suffered minor injuries, according to the Seattle Times.
So far, the Google vehicles have not been responsible for causing a single accident while the computer was in control. One Google vehicle did cause a crash, but in that case, its human driver was in control of the wheel.
Because the Google vehicles have multiple cameras and sensors running at all times gathering data, they can closely track what happens in the moments leading up to and during an accident. Although gathering information on driver distraction and rear-end crashes wasn’t the Google car’s primary goal, researchers have found the self-driving car is very well-equipped to collect this information. The information collected may prove to be extremely useful to experienced Texas distracted driving accident lawyers and others who need to thoroughly understand the mechanics of car accidents.