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Why Autonomous Cars May Not Prevent Accidents

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There has been a lot said about how autonomous cars will prevent car accidents on the roads. After all, without a human brain controlling the vehicles, there is no room for human error. Also, many have said that they will likely cut down on drunk driving accidents, as people simply will not have to drive the car. However, a new report published by Axios says differently. After studying four years worth of data from the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, Axios found that autonomous vehicles do not automatically keep people safe from accidents. 

According to the study, 81 of the 88 crashes studied involved autonomous vehicles. However, only one was the fault of the self-driving car when these vehicles were in autonomous mode. Sixty-two of the crashes studied involved cars that were in conventional mode at the time, meaning that a human driver was in control of the car at the time. 

“Clearly, autonomous vehicles are not yet as safe as people thought prior to them appearing on the roads,” says Attorney James Amaro. “The study clearly shows that drivers must still remain vigilant when operating these vehicles and continue to use safe driving practices. Either that, or leave the vehicles in autonomous mode, as this seems most helpful in preventing accidents.”

It is not just drivers that have to be careful around autonomous cars, either. Pedestrians and cyclists do, too. It was in 2018 that a self-driving vehicle hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona. While many used this incident to criticize autonomous cars, an investigation has now found that the woman may have been partly to blame. It is believed that she darted out in front of the vehicle, and that it was at night, making it even more difficult for the car’s sensors to detect her. 

While the report has shown that autonomous cars really may be safer than human drivers, it also shed light on something that some may not have considered. The people that are still around these cars must continue to practice caution. This is the only way to keep everyone safe.