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Autonomous vehicles would lead to fewer organ donors

As an illustration that every “solution” brings with it additional and often unforeseen, problems, is the suggestion that with driverless, or autonomous automobile (the auto auto?), would radically reduce the number of highway fatalities and would exacerbate the problem of individuals in need of an organ donation.

There is little doubt that car accidents are a problem in desperate need of a solution. We often ignore them, as so much wallpaper to our modern existence, but the more than 30,000 deaths that occur every year are almost all unnecessary, with 90 percent being due to driver error and negligence.

The technology is advancing rapidly and while many may think they are decades off, California is moving to change its DMV regulations to permit them and the U.K. plans to allow them next year.

They would have profound effects on our world. One study suggests that even if just 10 percent of vehicle were driverless, it would prevent more than 200,000 car accidents and save 1,100 lives.

It would also have a tremendous effect on the economy. Truck drivers, delivery drivers and cabbies would all be out of work. Hospital emergency rooms would likely see a decrease in traffic and even insurance companies would lose revenue, with the risk of car accidents significantly reduced.

Even the criminal justice system would be affected, as computer driven cars would be far less likely to make the minor traffic code violations that allow many vehicle stops.

But for all of these problems, the prospect of 30,000 fewer dead every year on American streets and highways, it seems like a deal worth taking. 

Source: Fortune.com, “If driverless cars save lives, where will we get organs?” Erin Griffith, August 15, 2014

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