Skip to Content

Will driver-less cars eliminate risk of injury in the future?


Automobile industry forecasters are saying that in roughly the next generation motor-vehicle accidents may drop to nearly zero in the United States. The prognosticators say that the current hopes for self-driving cars will become a realistic reality by around 2025—scratching the surface with about 0.02 percent of new car sales having self-driving technology. The costs of the technology will continue to fall, adding to more self-driving vehicles on the road. Analysts believe that people will be less and less likely to be drivers, with nearly 10 percent of the market involving sales of driverless cars by 2035.

Some testing of self-driving cars is allowed in Pennsylvania without any specific legislation on the subject. A handful of states have passed laws controlling or regulating testing among self-driving cars. The news could be a major improvement in the transportation industry if the prognosticators prove to be right.

Under current practices in the United States, roughly 32,000 people are killed in motor-vehicle accidents. Moreover, more than 2.2 million people are injured in accidents each year. Most crashes involve driver error—the industry analysts say that more than 90 percent of accidents involve driver error. The analysts believe that eliminating the potential for driver error could nearly eliminate all accidents from Pottsville area roads.

The predictions are not without caveat, however. Technological issues seem to rear their ugly head with products. Regulations would also have to change to open the door to widespread use of the potential technology.

While it is interesting to look to the future, especially as we enter a New Year, it is also important to remember that traffic safety today is of primary importance. Far too many people are injured in motor vehicle accidents in the Pottsville area each year. Waiting a generation or so for technology to advance to reduce the potential impact of driver error does little for the present.