Plenty of predictions made by science fiction writers have already come true. Like the iPad (predicted by Arthur C. Clarke), organ transplants (predicted by Mary Shelley), flat-screen TVs (predicted by Ray Bradbury), and an apocalyptic alien invasion, predicted by H.G. Wells. Well, perhaps not the last one, but driverless cars (predicted by many, including Isaac Asimov) are definitely reality now, and that’s great news for transportation safety and insurance costs.
More lives saved and injuries prevented
Driver error of any kind is the most common reason for car crashes. It includes dangerous behaviors like drunk driving, driving while substance impaired, driving while fatigued, and driving while distracted, as well as speeding, tailgating, and making unsafe lane changes. When drivers no longer have to drive, all of these errors can presumably be eliminated. In the U.S. alone, the widespread use of driverless cars is expected to save countless lives, and prevent injuries both minor and major.
In fact, it’s thought that driverless cars could slash accident rates by up to 90 percent by the year 2050.
Lower insurance premiums
Many drivers have a love-hate relationship with auto insurance. The monthly premium is a nuisance, but when a crash happens, it’s sure nice to have the policy. As autonomous cars become increasingly prevalent and car crash rates decline, it’s expected that insurance carriers will adjust their premiums accordingly. Some experts think that there may be two types of auto insurance packages: One for manual cars, and one for autonomous cars. Since driverless vehicles have a greatly reduced risk of crashing, these premiums would naturally decline.
Safer commercial transportation
In addition to safer passenger vehicles, commercial transportation accidents are expected to greatly decrease when automated big rigs become commonplace. This is similar to what has already happened in the aviation industry. Pilots are primarily responsible for take-offs and landings, but during the actual flight, they mostly put the plane on autopilot. Industry experts envision the same thing happening for commercial truck drivers. This possibility is particularly exciting for safety advocates, as big rig crashes are among the deadliest.
Less time wasted in traffic jams
In some ways, computers are smarter than humans. When a driver tells an autonomous car to get him from Point A to Point B, the car can automatically generate current traffic pattern information and determine the most efficient and timeliest way to get to Point B. The widespread use of driverless cars could potentially result in less traffic congestion, fewer hours wasted sitting in traffic, and presumably, fewer road rage incidents.
Tomorrow’s technology, today’s problems
Car manufacturers have been steadily increasing the focus on safety technology in new model vehicles, and the prevalent use of driverless cars could certainly help keep the roadways safer. But it’s still going to be years before a significant number of drivers have autonomous cars, and in the meantime, far too many accidents happen every day.
If you’ve been involved in a car wreck on Long Island or anywhere in the 5 boroughs of NYC and require legal representation, you can turn to the seasoned team at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye. Request your confidential, one-on-one consultation with one of our Nassau County car accident lawyers today by calling 1.800.469.7429.
More information on the benefits of driverless cars:
- Bloomberg, Self-Driving Cars Will Kill Things You Love (And a Few You Hate), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-13/self-driving-cars-will-kill-things-you-love-and-a-few-you-hate
- Business Insider, The 3 biggest ways self-driving cars will improve our lives, http://www.businessinsider.com/advantages-of-driverless-cars-2016-6/