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When Will Autonomous Vehicles Be Commonplace?

Tens of thousands of people lose their lives in automobile accidents every year. Most of those deaths are the result of easily preventable mistakes made by drivers. Distracted driving, drunk driving, aggressive driving, drowsy driving and other dangerous behaviors are not likely to go away by themselves. For many, the only possible solution is to turn the driving over to machines.

Whether or not you think self-driving cars are the answer, it is clear that lawmakers are on board with furthering the technology. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved a measure that should make it easier for car manufacturers to get autonomous vehicles on the road. The measure passed unanimously, indicating significant support for the idea of cars that drive themselves.

As safe as the alternative

The crux of the bill is that state governments will not be allowed to prevent autonomous vehicles from hitting the streets by passing stringent performance standards. The House bill allows manufacturers to put up to 25,000 autonomous cars on the road, per state, as long as they can match the safety performance of traditional vehicles.

The rise of deadly car accidents

The recent increase in auto fatalities may be working to give Congress a sense of urgency. After a long stretch of improving safety numbers, car accident deaths began to surge in 2015. Many experts have suggested that the rise in smart phone technology is driving the deadly crashes. Distracted driving is a growing problem that would certainly be resolved by autonomous vehicles. Computers can fail, but they cannot be distracted.

The House bill will now move on to the Senate for further consideration.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. House unanimously approves sweeping self-driving car measure," by David Shepardson, 6 September 2017

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