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Could self-driving cars reduce crashes in Alabama?

Exactly when self-driving cars will hit Alabama’s roadways is unclear, but state legislators are working to make sure that they are prepared, and that you are safe, when the time comes. Proponents for allowing cars with self-driving technologies on American roadways believe their introduction could considerably enhance your safety by reducing the number of accidents that occur each year. Opponents, meanwhile, fear such automobiles could cause confusion and problems because of a lack of clarity about who or what is responsible for damages, among related issues, in the event that they crash.

In a recent meeting, lawmakers converged in Auburn to discuss the introduction of self-driving cars in Alabama, and how they could help keep the roads safe for you and other motorists. GovTech.com reports that the state saw 972 fatal crashes in 2016 that caused the deaths of 1,040 people, but some estimate that the introduction of self-driving vehicles could slash these numbers by as much as 90 percent.

As a motorist, you may be aware that many, but not all, fatal crashes result from human error, and these are the types of crashes self-driving car supporters believe could be avoided once the new technology is introduced. Others worry that while these automobiles may indeed reduce crashes, they may generate new problems of their own. What, for example, would you use for identification if people no longer need to secure driver’s licenses? How would Alabama fund its court system, which is largely funded by traffic tickets, if you and other motorists are not out there making errors behind the wheel?

These are precisely the types of topics discussed in the recent lawmaker meeting, with Alabama’s elected officials trying to get as much information as possible about the vehicles before they become a reality on the state’s roads. Researchers at Auburn University, too, are getting in on the effort and are testing self-driving commercial trucks for similar reasons.

This information is intended to educate you about the eventual introduction of self-driving cars on Alabama’s roadways, but it is not intended to be taken as legal advice. 

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