Who is to blame in a car crash?


Every time a news channel is turned on there is a report of a car crash that starts a conversation regarding who is culpable in the accident. While there are crashes that garner more attention than others, such as last year’s Uber self-driving car accident, each one causes a mix of opinions and perspectives. Be it a small accident over the roadside that only harms the vehicle or a fatal accident, the perspectives can be subjective as ethical and moral values are taken into consideration. Because of car crashes being so commonplace yet so distinct, the manner in which the law is exercised in each can also carry many different layers of information. An accident lawyer, therefore, needs to take into analyzing many aspects of the crash itself other than the vehicles, situations, and people involved. However, the law can get intermingled with moral values and certain subjective cases lead to months, if not years, of court handling. On the other hand, many believe certain cases are unevenly handled because of the financial and social standing of the people involved. The question that persists in any case, however, remains the same, who really is to blame in a car crash and whether or not each crash should consist of the same punishments.

Drunk driving is a big factor when it comes to car crashes and the manner in which the law is executed. In most countries, drunk driving can result in fines, penalties, taking away licenses, and even jail time. In the case that nobody is harmed yet public property is damaged, one might believe that a fine is a good enough punishment, however, on analyzing the situation it is lucid that the results of any drunk driving case could be fatal. The manner in which these cases are handled legally is definitely dependant on the overall damages, and hit and run cases can lead to bigger consequences. For example, in recent news of the accident of Jason Pierre-Paul , he was not cited nor tested after his crash even though there are speculations of substance involvement.  Even though there were no major damages, this definitely showcases certain immunity given to powerful celebrities. On the other hand, a case in India which garnered a lot of attention was Salman Khan’s hit and run case where the celebrity had fatally crashed into a homeless person. This particular case resulted in 20 years of investigation through which he had several terms of prison time, eventually leading up to his freedom in the year 2018. The moral and ethical components of this investigation only grew stronger over time. Initially, many even related religion to the cases speculations as many other celebrities had been freed easily for similar charges.  The debate also rose regarding the state of homeless being allowed to live on the roadside, and whether Salman Khan should be convicted despite paying for the victims family for over 20 years and his rise as a philanthropist.

Another important illegal driving action is that of using handheld cellular devices while driving. Research suggests that in the United States over 25% of accidents are due to the use of cellphones and that texting is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. However, the reason such cases can prolong in the court is due to lack of information and evidence. In most cases, it is hard to distinguish whether or not a mobile device was being used as the crash took place. This is also the reason why in countries like the UK devices are being developed by startups in order to detect mobile device use. In all cases, one can easily state that in scenarios of irresponsible driving, the driver is responsible, nonetheless, is not the police culpable for not always enquiring about substance abuse during crashes, or the government for not properly integrating alcoholic information in order to get a license, or can technological advancement be blamed for creating further human distractions.

The lines are further blurred in the use of “self-driving cars.” These cars use technology in order to move with little or no human input by understanding the environment and surroundings and moving robotically. A particular event that rose discussion about self-driving cars was the 2018 Uber case in which a woman from Arizona was fatally crashed by an Uber self-driving Volvo. In this case, neither the driver nor Uber faced charges as it was said they had not found enough evidence against Uber in connection to the crime. The debates sparked worldwide as people believed that fully autonomous cars are still the responsibility of the safety driver, yet many believe that technology should take the blame as the idea of self-driving cars is to create technology that “frees” the drivers. While Uber suspended its self-driving car testing post the incident, it is evident that the advancement of technology only furthers the conversation of blame in car crashes especially in terms of evidence and freedom given to each individual driver. Therefore, it is important that the laws implemented are in touch with such technology and can be updated as robotic cars start to take over driving.

Overall, it is necessary to understand that each car crash is extremely different yet all crashes are linked majorly to the drivers. Unfortunately, there is an increased amount of bias by race and religion in terms that takes place in the case of car crashes as well, including that of self-driving cars that are said to be more dangerous for the black community. Involvement of the law, the government, technology, and moral values all play a huge role in the manner in which these cases go through the court in the case they make it to court. While it is easy to say it is all the responsibility of the driver, in law the lines are just as easily blurred. The answer to who is to blame in car crashes, therefore, can only be answered vaguely for a specific situation yet requires investigation and analysis for others. The only way to truly answer the question, therefore, is to integrate further details into the law about different types of situations and to fully understand that who will be charged in each case will be different because no case can truly be compared to another.

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