The safety of US roads has been declining in recent years. According to Voice of America News, US traffic deaths hit a 20 year high in 2022, with over 40,000 people losing their life on American roads. Whether due to increased demand, lower enforcement, or a combination of factors, it’s clear that a nation as car-centric as the USA absolutely must have high quality roads if it’s to continue operating as it likes to. State-by-state is a different story to the national picture, and an interesting place to look at is the west.
Progressive and safe
The western USA is making a name for itself as the testing ground for automated driving. While this would seem to create more problems than it solves, the evidence suggests otherwise. According to Forbes, statistics show that California, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada are some of the safer states for driving. Legal cases are more likely to be directed to the unintended impact of automated driving, and car accident lawyers in Surprise, AZ; Blythe, CA, or Laughlin, NV tend to have work focused in that area. The story in the big cities is a little less clear, of course, but, by and large, these states are safer than many others for motorists while also being at the forefront of a technology that may help to start reducing overall traffic risk and improve the lot of working Americans.
The facts of automation
There are lots of technology barriers to solve before automated driving can be considered fully safe. However, the current state is already promising. In a review of current safety measures, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that algorithms already in place are making the roads safer already. Advanced driver assistance programs, which utilize machine learning to preempt threats, work hand in hand with telecommunications systems that will help vehicles to communicate their location and network it across larger systems. This could effectively end highway collisions except for the absolute negligent or reckless behavior of drivers.
A fully automated future?
What is less certain is the safety of fully automated vehicles. One thing is for sure – they will likely remove two of the most frequently cited reasons for collisions, distracted driving and speeding. Where the car is locked to local speed limits, and the driving is done in such a way that the driver’s absolute awareness is essential, some of the major reasons why crashes happen are removed. Despite this, there are safety concerns with the vehicles themselves that have not yet been resolved by automakers or technologists, and that includes a heightened fire risk in electric vehicles and the possibility of software malfunctions.
That being said, the future is bright. Automation removes a lot of pain points from the driving experience that are causing the majority of accidents. In a nation that is experiencing increasing levels of traffic fatalities, it’s an important bit of innovation to track, especially given the importance of cars to the nation.
Also Read: What is Automation Testing in QA?