Will Self-Driving Cars Improve Safety? – New York Times

Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

In 2016, more than 37,000 lives were lost on American roads. We have a moral obligation to promote safe and rapid adoption of self-driving technology. Federal and industry leadership should partner to meet consumer demand for self-driving technology as swiftly and safely as possible.

GARY SHAPIRO, ARLINGTON, VA.

The writer is president and chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association.

To the Editor:

The worries about driverless cars are ill founded. Why? Every single crash involving a driverless car will be reported in the most fevered terms. The companies spending billions on autonomy know this.

Yet autonomous vehicles will have a huge advantage that humans will not. They will “learn” from tens of millions of miles of driving to look for and anticipate situations in ways humans never can.

Right now, our drivers are too distracted. Phones and the huge screens in car consoles are all pulling our attention away from driving, sending motor vehicle fatalities and injuries soaring. Autonomous vehicles can’t get here fast enough to save us from ourselves.

JOHN CORK, CARMEL, CALIF.

To the Editor:

If it’s truly all about improved safety, is adopting driverless car technology the most cost-effective means to save lives? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2013 crash death rate (deaths per 100,000 people) in the United States was more than twice the average of other high-income countries.

American motor vehicle safety could be improved by higher seatbelt use, reduced driving while impaired, obeying speed limits, and reducing distractions such as cellphone use and texting.

These and other efforts to reduce death rates, such as through gun control and improvement of the health care system, can be done without promoting and subsidizing an unproven technology by exempting automated cars from existing safety regulations. That is, if it’s truly all about improved safety.

TOM MAUS, MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y.


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