Driver Assist Features Making Poorer Drivers?

According to an article from Automotive News, driver-assist technology that brakes to avoid rear-end crashes, warns about unseen traffic, maintains safe distances from other vehicles or keeps your car in the lane are doing their job, keep drivers safer, but it all may be doing it too well. This technology is doing such a “bang up” job that its degrading human driving skills.

According to the article Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “There are lots of concerns about people checking out and we are trying to monitor that now. Everything we do that makes the driving task a little easier means that people are going to pay a little bit less attention when they’re driving.”

The article stated that: “U.S. roadway deaths jumped 14 percent over the last two years, with more than 40,000 people dying in crashes in 2016. While speeding and more congested roadways bear some of the blame, distraction is another key culprit. Data released by the federal government show manipulation of handheld devices while driving, including texting or surfing the web, has been on the rise.”

While its clear the auto industry is on a path towards totally autonomous vehicles, these semi-autonomous stepping stones may be making the transition more dangerous, not less. What do you think about these features are they a boon or a hazard?

A dark side of self driving cars

It isn’t just that there may be less insurance issues, with the possibility of needing less employees in the industry, but the Victor crew came across an article from Slate that talks about it affecting donor organs.

With less fatalities caused by accidents, the viable organ pool will go down for those needing transplants. The article points out that about 6,500 Americans die waiting for a transplant and another 4,000 are removed from the list because their problem has progressed past the point of needing an organ transplant. Liver and kidney disease kill more people than some cancers. Currently there are more than 35,000 people killed each year on the roads. One in five organ donations come from road accidents.

It is sad there will be less help for those needing transplants but to reduce the number of traffic deaths from 35,000 is a good thing.

Self-driving cars saving lives

It is estimated self-driving cars could save 300,000 lives per decade in America. We are still years from seeing autonomous cars in the mainstream but there are estimates that by mid-century, there could be a lot of lives saved. TheAtlantic.com cites that in 1970 there were about 60,000 traffic-related deaths. This dropped to 32,719 in 2013 due to a shift in automobile safety.

Researchers estimate that fatalities could be reduced up to 90 percent by mid-century. In the meantime, while cars are adjusting, safety may go through a period of worsening. Of the sixteen accidents with Google’s fleet of autonomous cars, all were due to driver error … by others.