Driverless automobiles have gone from a prop in science fiction movies to real models that will soon be available for consumer purchase in, what seems to be, a blink of an eye. Big tech companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber, as well as major car manufacturers including Toyota, Volvo, and Mercedes Benz, are all racing to perfect driverless technology and have vehicles on the market by the end of the decade. As these technological advances continue, the government is beginning to take steps to create regulations for self-driving vehicles.
Currently, only California and Nevada have regulators overseeing the operation of self-driving Vehicles. In addition to preparation on a federal level, law enforcement agencies across the country are examining what actions need to be taken, as well as how their roles may change, when self-driving cars become a common sight on the roads.
Across the nation, 94% of all automobile accidents are a result of driver error. Whether it’s a cell phone notification for a new text message, adjusting the in-dash navigation, or browsing through hundreds of radio stations beamed to the car from a satellite, drivers today face more distractions than ever before. It’s estimated that autonomous driver cars would reduce the number of accidents on the road, due in part to the programming and avoidance abilities built into these vehicles.
Self-driving vehicles will have an even greater impact on law enforcement, as shown in the Self Driving Cars Infographic from Denmon Lawyer. Roughly, 30 percent of tickets written by law enforcement each day are for speeding. This amounts to more than 6 billion dollars a year in fines. As more and more self-driving cars begin to appear on the roads, programming in these vehicles will prevent speeding from ever occurring, cutting into the speeding ticket revenues that law enforcement departments rely on to bring in yearly.
What will the roads look like in 2030? Will the automobile as we know it become obsolete? How will we travel and transport goods? What will be getting pulled over by a law enforcement officer in a self-driving car be like? Whether you’re behind the dashboard of a self-driving car, or at the wheel of a (soon to be defunct) regular automobile, it’s important to be aware of your rights during a traffic stop.
As we continue to watch companies around the globe continue to push the envelope of self-driving vehicles, in what could be compared to a modern day “space race”, it will be interesting to see how technological advances and government regulations will coexist. What do you think about the future of self-driving cars and the effect it will have on the government and law enforcement? Leave your thoughts in the comments!