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Could self-driving cars prevent all car accidents?

Every time you get behind the wheel, you are at risk for being in a car accident in Massachusetts. There are many causes of car accidents, some preventable, some not. However, the preventable causes of car accidents only seem to be increasing. 

Distracted driving contributes to many car accidents every year. The increased use of electronic devices and technology while driving poses serious risks for drivers. Drowsy driving and drunk driving are also serious risks for drivers and cause many car accidents too. All of these common causes of car accidents are due to driver errors so what can be done to prevent these accidents from happening?

Safety groups have been trying to raise awareness to these dangerous driving behaviors but their efforts haven't made much improvement. Since one of the main causes of crashes is due using new technology and electronic devices, could the solution also be found in new technology?

The Eno Center for Transportation, a think-tank in the U.S., believes so. They say that research shows that self-driving vehicles could reduce car accidents by 50 percent in the U.S. They claim that if 10 percent of all vehicles on the road were self-driving vehicles, also known as autonomous vehicles, there would be 211,000 fewer serious car accidents each year. They said to reduce all car accidents caused by driver error, self-driving vehicles would have to make up 90 percent of all vehicles driven in the U.S. 

They report that self-driving cars would not have the same risks that drivers face today, such as falling asleep behind the wheel, becoming distracted or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The group also said that self-driving cars would have faster reaction times, would obey all traffic laws and improve fuel economy. 

While self-driving cars would decrease car accidents caused by driver errors, the cost of manufacturing autonomous vehicles may be too high for many consumers. Manufacturing the electronic equipment used in self-driving vehicles would cost $100,000 and that doesn't include the cost of the actual vehicle. 

While self-driving cars may be just a dream for many people today, several manufacturers have already said they want to start selling self-driving vehicles by 2020 so the future of traffic safety could be changing sooner than we think.

Source: Morning Sun News, "Study: Self-driving cars could prevent 90 percent of road traffic accidents," Oct. 29, 2013

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