Today’s drivers are alarmingly distracted. Where distractions once centered around food, rambunctious children and gawking at things outside the car, the major distractions figuring into modern-era accidents are digital. Handheld and hands-free cellphone use is a culprit in a majority of crashes. Many of these accidents happen at intersections when a car is stopped, and the driver takes a few moments to send a text or read one, or check email. It only takes a split second with your eyes off the road to be involved in a crash with another vehicle or to hit a pedestrian. So, will self-driving cars eliminate the problem?

Safe Driving Technology

Currently, there is technology available to help make the roads safer. For example, the forward collision warning system or FCW is just one of many newer technologies that help distracted drivers pay attention to the road. This safety feature warns the driver that, considering the speed of their car and that of the car in front of them, they are too close.

Backup cameras are a feature on many vehicles, as well. These devices let you see what’s behind your vehicle, below your line-of-sight. This feature eliminates the chance of rolling over a child, who may be playing or walking behind the vehicle. Many children and elderly people have been injured or killed in back-over accidents. Sensors and backup video devices have lowered the numbers of these types of tragedies.

Another safe-driving feature available in some vehicles is the self-parking capability. For people who have trouble with parallel parking, this technology allows them to choose a parking space and sit back and relax while the car parks itself.

Self-Driving Cars and Safety

Safe driving technology has been advancing for years, and the self-driving car is the culmination of all these smaller advancements. While it may be difficult to wrap your head around sitting in a car that drives itself, the technology is here, and it has the potential to save thousands of lives. In fact, it is estimated that over 90% of traffic fatalities will be eliminated.

Human error, or choice, accounts for most vehicle accidents. Distractions, emotions and poor judgment are just a few of the factors that lead to crashes. Self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles (AVs), eliminate those factors. With sensors and safety features built in, the AV can drop you off at the office, go park itself in the parking lot, pick you up when it’s time to leave and drive you safely home.

48 Google AVs were launched on California roads in Mountain View and though there were a few minor accidents, it was reported that in only one minor instance was the AV at fault. Google is working to eliminate that problem. Every other accident was due to human error in the other vehicle. Google, Tesla, and others are working on perfecting the self-driving vehicles. The challenge is in getting the general public to accept them and be willing to use them.

Another challenge facing the self-driving car industry may be patience. As the competition to corner the market intensifies, some companies may be tempted to launch their vehicles before they are really ready to mingle with human drivers. There are some kinks to work out before the streets are full of AVs but the time is soon coming. When you think about it, though, the reluctance to latch on to advanced technology is nothing new. Just a little over a hundred years ago, people were certain that the horseless carriage would never last.

The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. are committed to the safety of our community members in and around the Port Charlotte area. If you have legal needs contact us at (941) 979-9010. We are the attorneys who care.