Self-driving vehicles: more harm than good?

/Self-driving vehicles: more harm than good?

It’s no secret that modern technology is advancing at an incredible pace. Obviously, these technology significantly impacts our every-day lives. However, technology may be affecting our way of life in more ways than originally intended, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. We now live in a world where anything and everything we could possibly want or need is just a click away. Unfortunately, we have fallen victim to the “there’s an app for that” mentality. As a result, people have become less willing, maybe even less capable, of doing even the simplest activities for themselves. Not surprisingly, self-driving vehicles are no longer limited to science fiction movies, they are quickly becoming a reality. But will self-driving vehicles really make the world a better, safer place?

Recent Accidents Involving Self-Driving Vehicles

Self-driving vehicles are still in the early stages of development, with companies like Tesla and Uber paving the way. However, recent reports of two fatal accidents involving self-driving vehicles using an autopilot system shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise. After all, technological advancements rarely happen overnight. The first incident occurred on March 18, 2018 outside of Tempe, Arizona. There, an Uber self-driving SUV struck a female pedestrian as she was crossing the street. Not long after, on March 23, 2018 a driver was killed after both the autopilot and the driver failed to activate the brakes before crashing into a concrete barrier. Of course, this isn’t to say we should abandon the idea of self-driving vehicles. Although we clearly still have a long way to go before people will no longer have to drive themselves anywhere.

Will Self-Driving Vehicles Be Safer Than Human Drivers?

It is too early to tell what effects self-driving vehicles will have on driver safety, insurance rates or the personal injury legal field. Uber certainly didn’t waste any time reaching a settlement with the family of the woman killed by a self-driving vehicle in Arizona. Nonetheless, its never too early to  start considering these issues. Ideally, the goal of self-driving vehicles is to make the roads a safer place by drastically reducing the number of motor-vehicle fatalities each year. After all, car wrecks and truck accidents occur all too frequently.

How Big of an Impact Will Self-Driving Vehicles Have?

On the other hand, there are several major areas of industry that only exist because of car accidents and vehicle safety issues. For example, in a perfect world where vehicles drive themselves and accidents are a thing of the past, what will happen to the auto insurance industry? What would happen to all the personal injury lawyers without car accident cases to handle? The healthcare industry without accident victims to treat? Body shops? How would cities make up the revenue lost from issuing fewer traffic tickets? Clearly the solution is not to forego the pursuit of public safety to sustain these industries. As both a personal injury attorney and a criminal defense lawyer, I can’t help but wonder, what if?