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Can self-driving cars reduce pedestrian accidents?

What once seemed like pure science fiction is now closer to reality than ever before. Self-driving or autonomous vehicles are currently a subject of international scrutiny, with engineers making new strides almost every day. What would the world be like if cars could drive themselves? Would it be a safer place for all, including pedestrians, or would trusting in technology prove to be disastrous?

An assistant professor from the West Coast believes that pedestrians will be pretty safe if or when autonomous cars become widespread. In fact, this scholar believes that pedestrians might "run rampant" in a world filled with self-driving vehicles. After all, if people on foot trust that they are safe from pedestrian accidents, they might be free to behave however they like when walking Jersey City's streets.

By design, autonomous cars practice extreme caution. They will slow down dramatically or stop when any obstacle is present, including the human body. The assistant professor describes a world in which pedestrians might actually take over roadways, darting to and fro without much thought and leaving passengers of autonomous vehicles frustrated.

Most people would agree that pedestrians probably will not try to take over the streets if self-driving cars become prevalent. However, those who prefer to walk or bike will certainly rest easier knowing that these cars of the future absolutely will stop for them.

In the meantime, bikers and walkers will likely continue to suffer accident injuries in New Jersey and elsewhere. As a result, seeking legal action against negligent or reckless motorists remains the number one tool in helping reduce pedestrian accidents across the United States.

Source: University of California, Santa Cruz, "Pedestrians may run rampant in a world of self-driving cars," Guy Lasnier, accessed June 09, 2017

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