Needless to say, the recent news about the operation of motor vehicles being (or capable of) hacked by outside sources is deeply disturbing. Fiat-Chrysler just announced its recall of 1.4 Million vehicles after reported hacking disrupted the driving of at least one reported occurrence. Jeep owners are strongly urged to take their vehicles to a certified dealer to update the hardware system to (hopefully) immunize or prevent this vulnerability. The fact that an outside source can disrupt driving raises questions about the owner’s use of the vehicle. Is it negligent to operate a car knowing that it is vulnerable to hacking which may lead to the cause of a crash? Surely, an argument could be made that if the owner does not get the vehicle updated, as recalled, then that driver clearly is not acting with ordinary care by taking the risk of hacking out on the road. It seems highly probable that a new era of negligence law and product liability law will be developed in the next decade as we evolve into high-tech motor vehicle operation (e.g., driverless vehicles).
Authored by L. Page Graves