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.

Questions about Self-Driving Cars

Here are some questions the Victor crew wonders about self-driving cars:

Will pedestrians become bullies? Self-driving cars will stop if there are pedestrians. We already see in big cities where pedestrians push the limit on when to walk but if they know a car is self-driving, will we see them going ahead and blocking the path?

Will drivers of regular vehicles become bullies? If they know you are behind the wheel of a self-driving car, they may just go ahead and cut you off in traffic.

What if you are trying to back out of a parking space? Will people and cars just keep moving behind you and keeping you from getting out of your spot? Unless they are looking to park in your spot you could be stuck for a while.

What about insurance? Will self-driving cars require this? Maybe not the full coverage we have now but there is always the possibility of damage from natural causes (hail, floods, etc.) or even other non-self-driving car drivers.

What would one have as a defense for someone that is showing road rage? The car did it?

What if you like to go over the speed limit by a couple miles and so does everyone behind you? Are you stuck doing exactly the speed limit?

A New Report States Red Light Cameras Save Lives

There have been many studies over the years about the effects of red-light cameras. But for the first time, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) takes a look at what happens when cities end their programs.

This study shows pretty clearly that red-light cameras can save lives. However, the IIHS notes that there are actually fewer active programs than there were at the peak in 2012. In 2012 there were 533 cameras in service while in 2015 there were 467.

The IIHS says this is the first time an organization has studied the effects of ending programs instead of starting them.The organization first compared 57 cities that started and continued programs from 1992 to 2014 with 33 cities that don’t have any. In the end, cities with red-light cameras had 21 percent fewer deaths related to collisions with red light runners and 14 percent fewer deaths from other crashes than cities without cameras.

The IIHS discovered that doing away with the cameras resulted in a 30 percent increase in deaths due to crashes with red-light runners and a 16 percent increase in deaths from other collisions.

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars IV

Want a vehicle with the fewest annoying problems? I asked Jody Victor®  to finish up his list based on a survey of customer satisfaction in the first 90 days from J.D. Power and Associates.

Jody Victor®: Here we go! The last installment from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: Lexus RX

Lexus pretty much invented the luxury crossover segment with the first RX 15 years ago. It had a level of quality and style that other automakers couldn’t match for many years. Today, it’s still one of the best. The RX’s ride is quiet and smooth, and the interior is posh. The mouse controller on the infotainment system is almost impossible to use, though.

Top Large Premium Crossover/SUV: Cadillac Escalade

This old-school Cadillac is huge and dripping with chrome all the way down to its 22-inch rims. It’s not even as nice as it could be inside for its $80,000 price tag. But high-tech features such as magnetic suspension give this rig outstanding poise for its supersize weight. Choosing an Escalade means you have little concern for gas prices or getting your car stolen, which insurance companies agree is likely to happen.

Top Large Pickup: GMC Sierra 1500

Tough construction, good reliability and above-average resale value make full-size General Motors pickups easy choices. Plus, they come in many configurations and styles to fit any budget and occupation. Denali models are especially well-trimmed and chromed without being gaudy. Plus, a natural-gas option is now available for those who have access to the cheap fuel.

Top Midsize Pickup: Nissan Frontier

American manufacturers aren’t paying much attention to smaller pickups anymore, so it goes without saying that Nissan has a good — if extremely basic — truck for this segment. The Frontier is short on refinement, but it offers a spacious bed and enough torque for most jobs. It’s a prime example that keeping things simple can pay off in the long run.

Top Minivan: Nissan Quest

If you can live with its funky, upright design, you’ll find the Nissan Quest perfectly capable for minivan duty. Folding seats, an under-floor cargo bin, available DVD entertainment systems, power doors, a dual glass moon-roof — it’s all here. That Nissan has beaten its more popular van rivals from Honda and Toyota is impressive, although we’re still partial to the Odyssey.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them all out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 10 Cheapest Cars to Own

The price you negotiate for a car and the interest you pay on the car loan are only part of the cost equation. Insurance, depreciation, taxes and fees, what you pay over the years for fuel, service and repairs are all important ingredients in the cost of ownership. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us more about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: All the vehicles on the list are small — either compacts or subcompacts — because they tend to have the lowest market price, the best fuel economy and reasonable insurance rates (premiums tend to rise with horsepower). Sticker price isn’t the only cost associated with owning a car. Here are the least expensive rides over a five year period in a two parts.

Nissan Versa S 4dr

5-Year fuel cost: $9,048
5-Year insurance cost: $5,134
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $27,135

The Nissan Versa gets a redesign for 2012, and the added amenities bump the bargain-basement feel out of the base model — without a big boost in price. An AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input is now standard (only audio wiring was included in 2011), as is air conditioning. The Versa gets better mileage, too (27 miles per gallon city, 36 highway). An automatic transmission costs $2,130 extra. It’s also been chosen as a Top Saftey Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 2012.

Hyundai Accent GLS 4dr

5-Year fuel cost: $8,143
5-Year insurance cost: $5,145
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $27,895

Riding a strong wave of redesigns, Hyundai has given the all-new Accent styling cues from the Sonata and Elantra. The Accent exhibits the brand’s commitment to quality, even at the lower end of the price spectrum. A six-speed manual transmission and direct-injection technology help it get 30 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. One caveat: The base model doesn’t come equipped with a radio or air conditioning, and adding those costs $1,750 more. An automatic transmission costs $2,750 extra.

Ford Fiesta S 4dr

5-Year fuel cost: $8,568
5-Year insurance cost: $5,623
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $28,524

Introduced last year, Ford’s Fiesta adds a dollop of style to the sensible subcompact class. Dramatically raked headlamps and sharp creasing along the side give the Fiesta an aggressive look. Inside, the cockpit is sporty yet functional. On its menu of safety features is a driver’s knee airbag, and it’s been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. It gets 28 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. An automatic transmission is $1,095 extra.

Toyota Yaris L 2dr hatch

5-Year fuel cost: $8,306
5-Year insurance cost: $5,451
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $29,153

The Yaris sports a whopping nine airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag and dual front seat-cushion airbags, which inflate under your knees and thighs to hold you in your seat during an accident. A USB input with iPod connectivity comes standard, so you can control music choices through the screen in the dashboard. It’s fuel-efficient, too — 30 mpg city, 38 highway. An automatic transmission costs $725.

Kia Soul 4dr hatch

5-Year fuel cost: $9,146
5-Year insurance cost: $4,402
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $29,190

The Kia Soul makes boxy cool again. Along with its funky looks, it has 19 cubic feet of cargo space, a USB input and Sirius satellite radio standard (a subscription costs extra after three months of free service). It gets 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway, and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick. An automatic transmission is $1,800 extra.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor