The future is racing up on us with breathtaking speed. New products, new technologies are constantly being touted and developed, often before they are fully understood; often before safeguards are put in place.  Sometimes new technologies bring with them unintended harm.  And worse, sometimes that harm, even though it is unintended, is foreseeable.  Everyone who has considered self-driving cars has recognized one risk of this new technology – the risk that someone would be hurt, or killed.

Today, that fear came true.  Today, the world changed.

News reports are stating that a woman in Tempe Arizona died today, after being struck by a self-driving car.

Expert have been warning about the dangers of self-driving, or autonomous, cars for a long time now.  Safeguards, rules, and legislation must be put in place, to ensure that we are protected from the dangers of these untested technologies.  And tort law must remain available to hold the wrongdoers accountable for unleashing untested or unsafe technology on the world. 

While technology holds promise, it also holds great risks and new dangers.  Let us develop technology to make the world a better, safer place, but let us not sacrifice people’s lives or health in the meantime.