An Application of Current Legal Precedents on Fault and Liability to Crashes Involving Automated Motor Vehicles


C. Raymond Bingham, PhD
Research Professor, Department of Psychiatry, U-M School of Medicine, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, U-M School of Public Health, and head of the Young Driver Behavior and Injury Prevention Group, U-M Transportation Research Institute


May 2015 – April 2016


Anuj Pradhan, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist, Human Factors Group, U-M Transportation Research Institute


Identify legal standards for determining fault and liability in six likely crash scenarios involving vehicles at NHTSA levels two through four of automation within the state of Michigan.


  1. Identify the two most common types of motor vehicle crashes for each of three groups:  young (age 16-25), adult (age 35-55), and older (age >70) drivers in Michigan.  Based on the peer-reviewed literature and police reports, determine the human and automated system contributions to/roles in each crash type.
  2. Examine Michigan legislative instruments and common law precedents that apply to the types of crashes identified in Phase 1, and examine the information/evidence on which fault and liability were established.
  3. Apply the information obtained in Phases 1 and 3 to models representing NHTSA Levels 2-4 of motor vehicle automation, separately. Seek consensus relating to the models and application of fault and liability through a Delphi process involving experts in Michigan law.


  • Likely standards for determining fault and liability in automated vehicle crashes and legal arguments supporting them.
  • A final report, presentations at national and international professional conferences, peer-reviewed publications.

TAGS: liability