News & Articles

Highways of the Future: Self-Driving Vehicles

August 13th, 2018

In today’s new cars, driver-assisted technologies are quickly becoming a driver’s new best friend. These features such as backup cameras, automatic braking systems, parking assist and blind-spot detection are common in newer cars and have even reduced injuries due to car accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes strongly enough in these technologies that they are pushing for backup cameras to be mandatory on all new cars in the United States.

While driver-assisted technologies are evolving beyond ‘assisting’ motorists, fully autonomous vehicles for the public are being tested and planned by many major automotive companies. These vehicles vary in automation levels from conditional automation (driver is a necessity, but not required to monitor the environment) to full automation (vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under all conditions).

While the United States is still years away from automated vehicles being commonplace on its highways, there are benefits associated with self-driving cars, particularly related to safety. Benefits include:

  • Safety
  • Economic Impact
  • Efficiency
  • Mobility
 

Safety

According to the NHTSA, 94% of car and motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error. That’s a staggering statistic and one that could be reduced with the emergence of self-driving and automated cars.

Self-driving cars may actually be better at driving than humans. Autonomous cars will not text and drive, run red lights, speed or otherwise ignore traffic laws. There isn’t a risk of dozing off behind the wheel or drinking and driving. Once the technology meets the standards and guidelines by the NHTSA, these vehicles may be a safer choice for drivers and passengers.

Economic Impact

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), car accidents account for nearly $871 billion in annual negative economic impact. This figure factors in lost wages, emergency services, medical and rehabilitation costs, traffic congestion and more. It’s an unbelievable amount of money directly related to auto accidents. Autonomous cars could help reduce the amount of money that is lost due to accidents.

Efficiency

Have you ever been in traffic and other drivers refuse to allow you to merge from a closed lane? Or perhaps you’ve encountered a four-way stop sign where everyone is confused about who has the right of way? With automated vehicles, these situations are reduced, creating greater efficiencies on the road. Traffic congestion, while not completely avoidable, can be reduced with automation.

Mobility

Self-driving cars have the potential to fundamentally change the lives of those who have mobility challenges or do not have a driver’s license. From elderly to vision impaired individuals, automated vehicles may be able to positively impact the modes of transportation, allowing individuals to be more independent. Plus, the inability to drive can impact employability. Self-driving cars may open a new world of employment to individuals who are unable to get to work.

Self-driving or autonomous cars are on the horizon and can help increase safety while also having a positive impact on mobility and the economy. For more detailed information about the future of this technology, read the recent report created by the DOT and the NHTSA.

At Dale E. Anstine Personal Injury Law Firm, we encourage safe and responsible driving. If you or a loved one in is an accident and have been injured, reach out today for your free consultation. Get a specialized attorney on your side who has a full understanding of personal injury law to know what you may be facing in court. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7 and there’s no fee unless we win for you.