Recently, I have been voraciously reading books and articles about driverless cars. I know I am not alone in my quest to shop for the next car I own. But what if, by 2020, I don’t get that pleasure? What if I have to sign up for a service that ‘dispatches’ a car to me when I need to go someplace? How long will I have to wait? It gives me a bit of anxiety.
The sunny side of this situation, no more unlicensed drivers on the road and less fatalities. That is a good thing, right? With cars having the ability to drive themselves and sensors to detect what is around them, that means less human error. That’s better.
The age group that will benefit the most from this technology? That would be the 16 to 19 year olds. In a recent study conducted by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm insurance reported that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among teens in America. Driverless cars could change that statistic.
The article stated that a 2006 National Young Driver Survey of kids in grades 9 to 11 found six percent had been driving without a license. Those who had admitted to unlicensed driving were from the urban, central city area. They were driving up to one hour a week.
Further it seems some of these unlicensed drivers also reported driving without seatbelts, driving under the influence, and driving without a purpose. The study found this was in higher instance amongst unlicensed teens than licensed teens.
Before you can jump to conclusions, a majority of unlicensed kids are not out joy riding or going on dates, but instead driving to school or work. Further many do not have the funds to complete their training due to the high costs associated with driving lessons and such.
In a world of driverless cars, the problem may fix itself. There would be no higher premiums for young drivers, good student discounts, or driver training certificates. On the claims side, this would rid us of the liability lawsuits and the taxing medical payments.
Of course, as those in law enforcement will tell you, if someone wants to be bad, they’ll find a way to be bad. Which, I guess, means we will still need insurance.