Is Florida becoming an autonomous driving state safe?


Santa Clara, CAThe world has changed so much since the invention of the automobile and it has not slowed down. When cars were first invented, people did not trust the new technology. They weren't used to a carriage that could travel by itself. Now, we cannot imagine a world without motor vehicles. As automobiles continued to be improved upon, so did the safety standards and the car accident laws regarding them. Florida driving laws, such as speed limits and which way to drive down the road, were implemented to increase the safety of those who operated the vehicles and pedestrians.

In 1950 and the first few decades following, basic convenience and safety features such as cruise control, seatbelts and antilock brakes were implemented. Advanced safety features such as electronic stability control, blind spot detection, lane departure warning and forward collision warnings came between the years 2000 and 2010.

By 2016, driver assistance features advanced with rearview video systems, automatic emergency braking, lane centering assist, rear automatic emergency braking and other safety features. Partially automated safety features including lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist were developed after 2016. By 2025, the automotive industry plans to have developed fully automated safety features for automobiles.

What are the potential benefits of making Florida a fully autonomous driving state?

A fully automated vehicle is a car, truck or van that can drive itself, without the assistance of a human driver. This means that your car would be able to speed up, slow down, stop, turn, start up and turn itself off all on its own. Without any human intervention, will the roads we drive on become more dangerous? In 2020, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 94% of fatal accidents are due to human error. Decreasing the amount of human input could potentially reduce accidents that are caused by human error. One study says fully automated vehicles could reduce fatal accidents by 90%.

While decreasing fatalities is the biggest potential benefit of having Florida become a fully autonomous driving state, there are other ways Florida could potentially benefit from the change. Some of the often cited reasons why autonomous vehicles could be beneficial are:

  • Reduced Congestion: studies suggest that switching to fully automated vehicles could reduce the amount of traffic on the roads.
  • Increased Mobility: full automated vehicles could increase mobility for those members of the population who are unable to drive themselves. They would be able to move about on their own.
  • Economic Benefits: According to the NHTSA, billions of dollars are spent on wrecks each year. By moving to vehicles that are not susceptible to human error, Florida could use that money for much needed projects.
  • Environmental Benefits: With less personal driving, fully automated vehicles could lessen the need for entire parking lots. Less personal driving would also mean less harmful emissions and pollutants from vehicles. The automotive industry is preparing for more travelers to participate in ride shares and shuttles.
  • Efficiency Benefits: If automated vehicles allow more people to share transportation, that would mean there would be fewer single-occupant automobiles on the road. This would mean less time spent in traffic, fewer employees late to work and the amount of students late to school would decrease.

In the long run, these benefits could greatly improve the quality of life in Florida. Change has started and it does not seem to be slowing down. In order to keep up with the state of technology, considering switching to autonomous driving could be an appropriate action to take. It will take time for people to get used to the new vehicles and the new way of driving, but it is not impossible.

How can Floridians feel safe about autonomous driving?

It is important, first, for people to understand that vehicles of any kind go through rigorous testing before they ever reach the road. The NHTSA has data voluntarily submitted by companies regarding the safety testing of their vehicles. This information is available on their website and can be accessed by anyone. Automobiles must pass a number of inspections before they can be considered safe and therefore purchasable by the public.

One of the safety benefits that is being built into fully automated vehicles is the ability to detect a potential crash. Not only can they detect that you are about to be involved in a collision, they can also act faster than a human can. This way, your car can keep you safe as well as get you from point A to point B.

Thinking about self-driving automobiles can be unnerving. Data shows, however, that most accidents are due to driver error. The following are some of the reasons that people get into accidents that can be linked to driver error:

  • Distracted driving - Drivers have a lot to contend with when they are on the road. There’s music, phones, passengers, even the signs on the side of the road can take a motorist’s attention away from the task at hand.
  • Speeding - Some drivers have a need for speed that can cause their driving to become reckless and dangerous to other people on the road around them.
  • Failure to yield the right of way - At stop signs and stop lights, there is a big problem with drivers either being unsure of who goes next, or ignoring the driving laws altogether. This leads to so many accidents that could be prevented.
  • Intoxicated driving or driving under the influence - Another major cause of accidents that could be prevented with automated driving are drunk driving and driving under the influence of a substance. Drinking and driving is a deadly problem in America, causing an enormous amount of monetary, emotional and physical damage every year.

What is the future of autonomous driving in Florida?

There is no disguising the fact that we live in a quickly evolving, ever changing world. Things get replaced and altered by technology every day. Recent advancements in technology have improved the lives of so many people in new ways every day. This is the same forward momentum that has seeped into the automotive industry, causing engineers to come up with exciting new things for us. While new things are exciting, they can sometimes be scary, too. When you are uncertain about the changes, it can be hard to be confident in them.

Change can be scary though for many people and many groups of people that have a more difficult time embracing and using technology. However, the future of autonomous driving in Florida would mean many more people will have access to the greater world than they previously had. The roads could also become much safer for everyone, pedestrians and passengers alike. With the absence of driver error, the roads could be free of deadly accidents. Fully automated vehicles have the potential to save countless lives and save Floridians countless dollars.

The future for fully automated, self-driving vehicles is exciting; the possibilities seem endless in the world of automobiles. The safety and monetary benefits from the new are countless for the people of Florida. Understanding the rigorous testing, how fully automated vehicles could make the roads safer and the money saving potential could all go a long way in helping Floridians feel safer with the future of fully automated, self-driving automobiles in Florida.

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