On the Redesign of Accident Liability for the World of Autonomous Vehicles

Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 1014

33 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2019 Last revised: 5 Sep 2019

See all articles by Steven Shavell

Steven Shavell

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 19, 2019

Abstract

This article proposes a scheme of liability that would desirably control accident risks in the coming world in which motor vehicles will be autonomous. In that world, travelers will not be drivers, rendering liability premised on driver fault irrelevant as a means of reducing accident dangers. Moreover, no other conventional principle of individual or of manufacturer liability would serve well to do so. Indeed, strict manufacturer liability, recommended by many commentators, would actually tend to leave accident risks unchanged from their levels in the absence of liability. However, a new form of strict liability – the hallmark of which is that damages would be paid to the state – would be superior to conventional rules of liability in alleviating accident risks and would be easy to implement.

Keywords: autonomous vehicle accidents; liability; tort law

JEL Classification: K13, K2, K32

Suggested Citation

Shavell, Steven, On the Redesign of Accident Liability for the World of Autonomous Vehicles (August 19, 2019). Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 1014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3437474

Steven Shavell (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3668 (Phone)
617-496-2256 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
71
Abstract Views
254
rank
314,766
PlumX Metrics