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Self-driving cars won't fix every problem out on the road

One of the things that we are going to have to grapple with as a society going forward is self-driving cars. Now, we aren't saying this is the number one issue facing society right now -- but in the future, this will certainly be a significant topic that needs to be addressed in a proper and adequate way.

Self-driving cars, on paper, sound amazing and revolutionary. If we take the human element out of driving, then accidents will go surely go down, so this line of thinking goes. While this seems obvious, there are also plenty of examples of self-driving cars being involved in accidents. They certainly aren't infallible, and there will always be motor vehicle accidents even if every car on the road is an autonomous, self-driving one.

An element to the over-arching theme of self-driving cars -- that they are safer than vehicles driven by humans -- is that 94 percent of car accidents are due to "human error or choice." It is a statistic that is commonly referenced and quoted when the topic of self-driving cars and road safety comes up. What this argument assumes is that self-driving cars will dramatically cut into that number.

But what it leaves out is the fact that self-driving cars will still get into accidents, and they may even bring a host of other problems that were previously non-existent. For example, will GPS errors cause accidents? How will insurance work? How will road laws change as a result of self-driving cars?

Source: Washington Post, "Will driverless cars really save millions of lives? Lack of data makes it hard to know.," Michael Laris and Ashley Halsey III, Oct. 18, 2016

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