Can You Use a Phone in a Self-Driving Car?

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Entirely self-driving cars aren’t available yet, but automakers predict they will be within a few years. Testing is taking place across the country on cars with some degree of autonomous driving capabilities today.

Unfortunately, autonomous vehicle drivers don’t necessarily understand that they have to pay as much attention to the road as they would in a regular car. Drivers who ignore this requirement often aren’t able to prevent accidents.

If you sustain injuries in an accident caused by someone using a cell phone, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. The Mike Morse Law Firm offers a free case review to determine your eligibility.

Can You Use a Phone in a Self-Driving Car?


Each state in the U.S. has its own laws regarding the use of cell phones while driving. Today’s AV drivers need to follow the same state driving laws as everyone else on the road because these vehicles aren’t capable of autonomous driving yet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes six levels of autonomous driving technologies. Vehicles with levels zero through two are already available in the U.S., and some manufacturers hope to release level three cars later in 2022.

All of these levels require that a driver remain attentive and ready to take control of the car if a situation warrants that. A few level four cars exist, which don’t necessarily need a human operator; however, commercial companies own them. The general public can’t buy level four vehicles yet.

When level five cars are released, they won’t need people to drive them, and all occupants will be passengers. You’ll be able to use your phone in level five AVs.

Why Is Cell Phone Usage Dangerous While Driving?


Drivers who use their phones usually pay more attention to their conversation, texting, or other phone activities than they do to the road. You may not think that reading or sending a short text is dangerous, but statistics show that it takes a minimum of five seconds. In five seconds, your car can travel 100 yards or the length of a football field.

A lot can happen in that distance: A vehicle can enter your lane of traffic, an animal can begin to cross the road, the cars ahead of you can brake suddenly, or you can begin to veer into another lane. If you’re not paying attention to the road, you probably won’t notice any of those things until it’s too late to prevent a collision.

What Is a Driving Reaction Time?


In general, reaction time is the length of time it takes from when you first notice something until you respond to it. When driving, you must also include the time it takes for your vehicle to react to your response.

There are three stages of reaction time in driving. We’ll use an example to clarify this concept: Say that you’re driving on the interstate, and a car ahead of you brakes and begins to slow.

Mental Processing

The stopwatch starts when you notice the brake lights and the car’s decreasing speed. After noticing these things, you have to think about what that means and decide how you should respond. Your thoughts might be, “I see brake lights, and that car is slowing down. If I don’t do anything, I’ll hit that car. I should apply my brakes to slow down so I won’t hit it.”


If you’re using self-driving cruise control, you may be resting your foot on the floorboard; otherwise, you’ll be using the gas pedal. After you’ve realized that you need to apply your brakes, you have to move your foot to the brake pedal and push down on it. While this shouldn’t take long, every fraction of a second can mean the difference between avoiding a wreck and causing one.

Car Response

Your car doesn’t stop immediately when you apply its brakes. When you depress the brake pedal, it takes time for the brakes to engage and begin to slow the car.

Remember the five-second texting time? You may need a five-second reaction time for you to slow your car enough to avoid a collision with the car that braked in front of you, which you won’t have if you’re looking at your phone instead of the road.

What Kinds of Damages Can You Receive?


Injured accident victims can receive different kinds of compensation from the responsible party. However, insurance companies are reluctant to pay reasonable amounts. A personal injury lawyer from the Mike Morse Law Firm knows how to aggressively negotiate with insurance carriers to get reasonable settlements.

Because Michigan is a no-fault state, not all victims can receive compensation. Ask your attorney to tell you if you qualify.

Economic Damages

This category of damages refers to things that actually cost you money and are meant to reimburse you for those expenses. They can include:

  • Lost wages due to time missed from work
  • Medical bills, prescriptions, and necessary medical equipment
  • Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
  • Costs associated with hiring caregivers
  • Vehicle repair or replacement costs

Non-Economic Damages

Not all wounds received in a car accident are physical, but they are no less real. Non-economic damages attempt to compensate you for things like:

  • Diminished earning capacity if you’re unable to work long-term due to your injuries
  • Pain and suffering – physical, mental, or emotional
  • The emotional damage caused by permanent disfigurement
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of your ability to enjoy life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of society

Because these things don’t have a price tag, there’s no specific dollar amount of compensation you will receive. Your personal injury attorney knows what kinds of evidence to gather to show that you deserve compensation for non-economic damages.

Punitive Damages

Some states allow victims to recover punitive damages if the guilty party acted with blatant negligence or maliciously. These damages intend to punish the defendant further.

Exemplary Damages

The state of Michigan doesn’t allow punitive damages, but it does provide for exemplary damages. This kind of damages might be granted for reasons similar to other states’ punitive damages. However, the intent of granting exemplary damages is to compensate victims rather than to punish the guilty party.

Your car accident attorney from the Mike Morse Law Firm understands the laws surrounding damages and which you may be eligible to receive.

Why Choose the Mike Morse Law Firm?


People across the state of Michigan trust our attorneys to represent their interests in personal injury cases.

  • We are the largest personal injury firm in Michigan.
  • Our firm has over 40 dedicated attorneys, additional researchers, investigators, legal professionals, and staff.
  • Every client benefits from our promise: No Win, No Fees Guaranteed. You won’t pay us until we win compensation for you.
  • Our years of experience give us the knowledge needed to negotiate maximum settlements from insurance companies successfully.
  • We give personal attention to each client.

Mike Morse Law Firm has won over $1.5 billion for our clients, and we want to win for you as well. You can reach us at 855-MIKE-WINS, or live chat 24/7. You’ll receive a response within two hours after submitting our online case review request form, or you can email us if you’d prefer. Let us show you why so many people turn to us.

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