Could this new technology save lives on Essex Roads?

Could the recent increase of people killed or seriously injured (KSI’s) on Essex roads be reduced in the future with the implementation of autonomous vehicles?

You may have heard about the new Google self-driving car and all the proclaimed benefits that come along with it such as increased road safety, easing of congestion and more relaxing Journeys. But is this really the case?

In February 2016 a Google self-driving car struck a municipal bus in Mountain View USA in a minor crash and the search engine firm said it bears ‘some responsibility’ for the incident in what may be the first crash that was the fault of the self-driving vehicle. Google said last week it made changes to its software after the crash to avoid future incidents.

This aside how could self-driven cars actually reduce the number of KSI’s on Essex roads?

As the vehicles are completely autonomous they could eradicate all driver errors which lead to collisions. Drivers would become ‘passengers’ and would be free to use mobile devices and concentrate on anything & everything but driving. Loss of control and Speed could also be a thing of the past as the self-driven car will have to adhere to speed restrictions at all times. Drink and Drug driving would also stop being an issue as the self-driven car would be a safe way to get home after a night out.

So how do the figures stack up?

In 2015, 44 people in Essex lost their lives and 706 suffered serious injuries on the roads. With all vehicles becoming autonomous we could remove driver error from car, van, bus and HGV crashes, we would have the following estimates on the staggering effects on fatal and serious road casualties in Essex: 94% reduction in car occupant KSI, 63% reduction in cyclist KSI, 53% reduction in pedestrian KSI, 41% reduction in P2W rider KSI resulting in a total of 70% overall KSI reduction.

All together this would mean 29 fewer people killed and 494 fewer serious injuries every year.

A massive saving in lost lives and life changing injuries – And what about the costs to tax payers? According to the Department for Transport (DFT) the current average cost of each fatality on a UK road is £1,653,687 and the average cost of a collision involving a serious injury £185,831. The Department’s values include an amount to reflect pain, grief and suffering, as well as the lost output and medical costs associated with road accident injuries.

Based on these figures, this could mean a total saving of £139,757,437 every year in Essex alone.

What do you think about autonomous vehicles and their potential contribution to road safety?

google car

For more road safety articles and debates follow @SaferEssexRoads or visit www.saferessexroads.org

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