Michael Barasch Comments on WSJ Article “Can Auto Fatalities Go to Zero?”

Speeding, drunken driving and texting may all contribute to rising fatalities. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Last year was one of the deadliest years on America’s roads. Approximately 40,000 people lost their lives in traffic accidents. Despite technology like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, back-up cameras and crash-avoidance systems, our roads have become less safe. Current technology has been helpful, but only to a point. Human error is what causes most accidents, and our technology has not found a way to effectively counteract our human foibles. We get distracted, we speed, we get behind the wheel when we are impaired or intoxicated, we drive without seatbelts fastened, we drive when we are fatigued, we text, we call, we get road rage, and, because we are human, we sometimes misjudge, or react too slowly or panic.

Self-driving cars have the potential to mitigate traffic fatalities in a way that no previous technology has. Computers are not perfect, and people naturally feel uneasy with the idea that a machine will make life and death decisions for them, a concern that must be addressed before self-driving cars are embraced by society. But this is the most promising technology to counteract our “humanness”. It will be a long while before self-driving cars dominate the roads, but since we humans will always be “only human”, this is a technology that is worth the investment.

REFERENCE: "Can Auto Fatalities Go to Zero?", The Wall Street Journal, By Adrienne Roberts
June 23, 2017 1:33 p.m. ET

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