Home Resources Education Driverless Vehicles Will Require Creation of New Public Policies

Driverless Vehicles Will Require Creation of New Public Policies


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

In the United States, motor vehicle accidents are frequent and often serious. Consequently, lawmakers and traffic experts have introduced programs and policies to help reduce the number of vehicle-related accidents. These policies include curbs on drunk driving and stiff fines and penalties for repeat offenders.

Other policies include changing the infrastructure to better respond to and mitigate these emergencies. In 1966, a study called Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society highlighted the severity of vehicle crashes. Shortly after the study was published, emergency medical services were created in an effort to reduce or prevent these often deadly accidents.

The push to reduce accidental injuries and deaths on the road continues. The latest attempt involves the driverless vehicle, a technological advancement that could affect pedestrian versus motor vehicle accidents.

Driverless Vehicles Have the Potential to Lower Accident Rates

Although still in their infancy, driverless vehicles are expected to lower the rate of motor vehicle accidents. According to an article in Science Alert, driverless vehicles could reduce traffic-related accident deaths by 90 percent.

“That’s almost 300,000 lives saved each decade in the U.S., and a saving of $190 billion each year in healthcare costs associated with accidents,” Science Alert said.

Future Safety Policies Should Include Driverless Vehicles

Since the 1966 accidental death and disability study came out, pre-hospital care has dramatically improved. People are often treated more quickly at an accident scene. This quick treatment has helped to dramatically increase survival rates for motor vehicle accident victims.

Coupled with the new safety features built into automobiles today, public policy that is well designed and applied will dramatically alter the circumstances surrounding preventable deaths on the road. Future safety policies that include driverless vehicles certainly could reduce the number of highway injuries and fatalities.

Ultimately, lawmakers and safety engineers must decide what new road safety policies could benefit society as a whole. Driverless vehicles are a relatively new invention, but they're going to permanently change how first responders handle emergencies.

Despite some well-documented tragic accidents involving driverless vehicles, it is important that lawmakers consider policies that will incentivize the manufacture and sales of driverless vehicles. Those important policies will work to save lives.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.