Automakers are trying to develop self-driving cars to the point where they can identify road hazards better than human drivers, and while this may help prevent certain crashes, they will not prevent all crashes that arise from human error. Drivers in Georgia should know about a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that says only one third of such crashes would be prevented.

The data consisted of more than 5,000 police-reported crashes from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, each of which involved emergency medical services and at least one car being towed away. Researchers categorized the crash factors into five types of errors: sensing and perceiving errors, predicting errors, planning and deciding errors, execution and performance errors, and incapacitation.

Sensing and perceiving errors, which range from distracted driving to the failure to recognize hazards, accounted for 24% of the crashes analyzed. Incapacitation, including impairment from alcohol, drugs or medications, was behind 10% of them. Researchers say that self-driving cars can eliminate these two factors but not the other three.

Forty percent of the crashes were caused by planning and deciding errors: tailgating, driving too fast for road conditions etc. It’s clear that self-driving vehicles, if they are to prevent such accidents, must put safety first rather than drivers’ preferences.

Those who have incurred auto accident injuries because of a driver who was speeding, driving aggressively or being negligent in some other way may be able to seek compensation. A lot depends on their own degree of fault. It may be wise, then, to have a lawyer assess the case. If retained, the lawyer may hire investigators and medical experts to gather proof against the defendant and to determine the extent of the injuries. Victims may leave all settlement negotiations to the lawyer, too.