We've all read the reports: autonomous vehicles may lead the way to safer roads, fewer accidents, and fewer fatalities from car accidents caused by human error. An autonomous vehicle has systems in place such as GPS, cameras, and a robust processing computer that can react in near-real-time, and studies have claimed that a Tesla on autopilot can react as quick as 9X faster than a human driver. As technology continues to improve, this reaction time may get even better, making it entirely possible that these cars truly are the saviors that some early proponents claim them to be.
However, whether or not autonomous vehicles are less likely to be involved in an accident is not a truly relevant question at this point, since self-driving cars make up a fraction of the number of vehicles on the road - far too few to have a serious impact on pedestrian safety, or to significantly reduce the number of pedestrian accidents in the United States.
Are Self-Driving Cars Safer Than Traditional Vehicles?
There is no doubt about it: studies continue to prove that self-driving cars are safer on the roads than humans due to a range of factors. In fact, according to studies by the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 94% of all accidents on the road each year are attributed to human error, which indicates that there is significant room for improvement on these statistics as more and more self-driving cars replace the classic car and driver relationship.
However, regulators are now faced with a new, perhaps more philosophical question: how safe is safe enough? When faced with existing technology and the fact that nearly 39,000 people were killed in auto accidents (driven by humans) in 2019, how many accidents would people accept if caused by autonomous vehicles, even if it led to a reduction in overall fatalities? Due to the fact that this technology is new, and people have a hard time accepting new technology. How safe is "safe enough" in terms of allowing more self-driving cars on the road?
Currently, there is approximately 1 death for every 100 million miles driven by humans. If self-driving vehicles could promise a 10% reduction in deaths, would this justify increased regulation that went so far as possibly discouraging drivers from taking control of the wheel? As we know based on past examples, any instance where a self-driving car is involved in a fatal accident will make national headlines, whether or not the car is to blame - simply because of the novelty of an autonomous vehicle and the implications that come with it.
How Self-Driving Cars Improve Safety
Self-driving cars employ a wide range of tools and technologies in order to ensure that they are safe on the road. This includes things like 360º cameras that are taking in all sorts of information at any given time, as well as things like speed limiters, prediction algorithms to keep tabs on pedestrians, and high-powered computers to tie all of these systems together and operate as the "brains" of the vehicle. Altogether, these systems create a highly-safe, reactive, and responsive vehicle that is proven to be a safe addition to our roads.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, whether or not a self-driving car is involved (which, statistically, will involve a driver and not an autonomous vehicle), contact 1800injured.care to connect with an attorney who can help you fight for the money that you deserve.