Will Self Driving Cars Reduce Accidents?

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, along with other state officials, conducted on Wednesday, April 27 a meeting that seeks to determine how the state can play a role in the self-driving car industry, by making recommendations to the industry that they should hire people who will operate such cars from the state, and by developing regulations that would make it safe for people who want to explore the options of being inside a vehicle without actually manning it.

Self-driving car industry leaders say that such vehicles can potentially make it safer for motorists to drive on roads and highways in the sense that they can lessen traffic congestion. Another great thing about them, industry experts said, is the advantage of allowing people who do not know how to drive to be able to get around.

The elderly, in particular, can be helped by these self-driving vehicles; instead of risking an accident every time they enter the roads with their cars because old age has eroded their once sharp senses and made their reflexes slower than usual, they can rest assured that they will reach their destination safely because an automated pilot is doing the driving for them.

Industry experts also boasted of lower emissions in these vehicles.

John Leonard, a professor at the Massachusetts’ Institute of Technology’s computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory, said there is a possibility that the development of self-driving cars will be likened to the United States-Russia space race back in the 60s, with auto manufacturers like Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co. and Detroit, Michigan-based General Motors Co. and technology firms like Uber and Mountain View, California-based Google competing for the industry’s advancements.

In Leonard’s opinion, the state of Massachusetts can take part in this driving revolution: if it banks on its major expertise areas like computer software development.

At present, five states including Washington, D.C. are allowing the testing of self-driving cars on public roads and highways.

Attorneys at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP say that the prevalence of autonomous vehiles in streets can greatly impact the rate of personal injury accidents, particularly car crashes.


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