Self-Driving Cars, are they an Answer to Auto Accidents?

safety factors of self driving carsBy now you’ve probably heard about the new technology concerning self-driving cars, and if you haven’t, that’s ok too, because here’s a little bit of information. Self-driving cars may sound like a futuristic fantasy, but they actually exist right now. In fact, Google currently operates these vehicles in California, Texas, and Washington. A self-driving car uses a computer to operate the car; no human interaction needed other than to program your drive.

According to the National Safety Council, auto accidents are the number 1 cause of death in ages 5 to 25 and the number 2 cause of death for those 25 and older. In Colorado, traffic fatalities are even on the rise.   With the growing awareness of distracted driving one would think it would be decreasing, but distracted driving continues on our roads and is a factor in many traffic accidents. So maybe, the idea that if a computer takes over the drive humans can maintain being distracted on their phones and not worry about what is on the road isn’t such a bad idea. But is it truly the best?

Whether self-driving cars have the potential to decrease accidents is still up for debate, but it hasn’t stopped the automotive industry from exploring this latest technology. In fact, GM has proposed to purchase Cruise Automation Inc. for more than $1 billion, which would be the auto industry’s biggest Silicon Valley acquisition so far. And according to the Wall Street Journal, auto-industry forecasts see annual sales of self-driving or driverless cars reaching $21 million within 20 years. Guess it looks like we’re heading the direction of self-driving cars with these predictions.

As great as new technology can be, self-driving cars are sure to pose an array of legal questions. Legislatures will have to decide how to regulate these vehicles. However, there will likely not be a discussion about the legalities of self-driving cars until they become a more mainstream choice. As they do, we will then be able to truly see how safe they are on our roads. Will they help, hinder, or maintain the status quo when it comes to auto accidents? It is a bit scary to not know this information, and we probably won’t know until more people begin to use self-driving vehicles. Technology is supposed to help us, but often it can be distracting in a vehicle. Of course self-driving cars would help with that distraction, but will these cars have the experience that many drivers have when it comes to being behind the wheel?

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