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Thousands of people die every year in car crashes. According to an article from USA Today, 40,000 people died in automotive accidents in the US in the year of 2017 alone. In the United States, there are many automotive safety issues, so what can we do as a society to reduce the fatality rate and save lives? The most promising solution is replacing typical vehicles, operated by human drivers, with autonomous vehicles, vehicles equipped with the latest in advanced technology that can drive themselves.
Self-driving cars are the answer to solving the safety issues presented by human-operated vehicles and increasing safety on America’s roads. There are many safety issues on the roads currently. Typical human-operated vehicles are extremely dangerous and present many safety issues.
These safety issues lead to an extremely high number of people being either killed or injured in motor vehicles accidents every day. As previously stated, “The National Safety Council estimated automotive fatalities topped 40,000 in the US” last year.
That comes out to over 110 people killed on the road every single day. In addition to the thousands of people dying every year as a result of automotive safety issues, there are even more non-fatal injuries. “3 Million people in the US are injured every year in car accidents”. Even if we step back and ignore the numerous casualties that result from motor vehicle accidents, there are also other issues that result from human-operated cars. 72% of crashes result in some form of property damage.
That’s a lot of damage that needs to be paid for, and that’s where driver’s insurance comes in.
“The average American spends approximately $900 per year on car insurance, which works out to $75 per month”. Americans are required by law to pay for this insurance because it is so likely that as humans, we will cause or be part of an accident at some point in our driving life. These devastating statistics are the result of one main factor. Human Error. Human error can be attributed to a number of different behaviors. “Humans must rely on three fallible mental functions [when driving]: perception, [seeing or hearing potential dangers]; [attention, noticing these dangers] and memory”. Humans are subject to multiple variables that can disrupt these mental functions such as fatigue, distraction, impairment, speeding, and other variables.
Because of this, the vast majority of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error. More than 90% of the 40,000 traffic fatalities last year were directly caused by human error. Additionally, “A US study published in 2001 found that ‘a driver behavioral error caused or contributed to’ 99% of the crashes investigated”. It is clear that humans and the mistakes that they make are the main cause behind all these devastating accidents. Switching over from human-operated cars to autonomous cars in the near future will solve the problems caused by human error and increase safety on the roads. Autonomous vehicles do not experience human error. “Self-driving cars don’t drink. They don’t text. And they don’t fall asleep at the wheel”. Autonomous cars are not subject to the fatigue, distraction, impairment, speeding, or any other human factors that humans may experience, making them much safer.
In addition to this absence of human error, autonomous vehicles are also equipped with very advanced technology which gives them a significant edge against human drivers. Self-driving cars are capable of taking in information 360 degrees around them. They can take in significantly more information than a human ever could. We’re even already beginning to see a lot of promising technology in cars on the market today. This advanced technology includes lane assist, which keeps the vehicle centered in its own lane; adaptive cruise control, which slows and speeds up the vehicle depending on the speed of the vehicle ahead of it, and much more is becoming available all the time. Implementing this advanced technology will solve many of the human-caused dangers on the roads. How will this technology be implemented?
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