Michael J. Fox’s hovering skateboard from Back to the Future remains a fantasy, but driverless cars no longer belong to the realm of sci fi. They are on our roads and rolling off production lines of manufacturers like Toyota and Tesla. But just how safe are these cars? Experts, and car accident lawyers, lock horns on this subject frequently. Let’s review three compelling perspectives:
3 Essays on How Driverless Cars Will Impact Accident Rates
1. The Atlantic sunnily reports that: “Researchers estimate that driverless cars could, by midcentury, reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent. Which means that, using the number of fatalities in 2013 as a baseline, self-driving cars could save 29,447 lives a year. In the United States alone, that’s nearly 300,000 fatalities prevented over the course of a decade, and 1.5 million lives saved in a half-century.”
2. GovTech says not so fast: “Accidents, which have terrible consequences, are extreme cases. Autonomous vehicles have certain advantages over drivers because they do not tire, or become inebriated and they are not distracted by problems with a partner or a supervisor, but they face many challenges even before we touch on the safety issue, challenges which relate to their integration into the flow of traffic.”
3. Michael Laris and Ashley Halsey III, writing for the Washington Post, are undecided. They note, for example, that: “One problem is that the U.S. government keeps no comprehensive database of crashes. That complicates what otherwise might seem to be a simple task: figuring out which vehicles are more likely to crash, human-driven ones or those run by software and sensors.” Meanwhile, experimental flaws often hamper data collection efforts. Laris and Halsey note that: “A bigger shortfall was revealed by in-car cameras that captured thousands of motorists in the wild as part of a major federal safety study. Even though they had volunteered to cooperate – and be recorded – some of those drivers failed to notify researchers when they crashed as they were told to.”
What’s the Take Away?
Too soon to tell. You can find solid arguments on both sides of the fence. Driverless vehicles couldsave thousands of lives per year-maybe-but it appears that we just don’t have definitive data to quantify the benefits.
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck in McKinney, Texas, call an experienced car accident lawyer at 844.UNDERWOOD or 844 863 3796 to schedule your conversation with us.
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