California drivers probably get distracted behind the wheel from time to time, and most of them realize that this is negligent because they can cause a crash as a result. However, drivers in semi-autonomous cars can become distracted without even feeling that they are doing wrong. It is a trend that’s worth looking into.

The Journal of Safety Research states that drivers tend to have slower reaction times when behind the wheel of a semi-autonomous vehicle. This is just one symptom of inattention. The reason for this is simple: Drivers, feeling safer in such vehicles, believe they do not have to pay as much attention to the road. This complacency leads to bad driving habits, even phone use.

The impact that this can have on car crash numbers has not been documented yet, but distracted driving crashes claim the lives of some 3,000 people every year nationwide. In 2017, the number was 3,166, or 8% of all traffic fatalities for that year.

There are other issues with semi-autonomous cars, such as the possibility of lag in the AI programs. While a one- or two-second lag may sound small, it’s not when cars are going at high speeds. Cameras and sensors may also become faulty and not sense a car in the blind spot, for example.

Until the day when nothing but self-driving cars are on the road, there will likely always be motor vehicle accidents caused by driver negligence. Regardless of how the driver failed to keep the car under control, those whom he or she injured may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law. This means having the other side’s auto insurance company pay for monetary and non-monetary damages like medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Before filing anything, though, victims may want a lawyer by their side.