Self-Driving Car Crash Rates Lower than Regular CarsAuthor: Portner & Shure
As self-driving cars continue to increase on the roads, it will be increasingly interesting to compare their safety with the safety of regular cars. There are far too many fatal accidents on Virginia roadways. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute was commissioned by Google to conduct a study on the crash rates of self-driving cars versus conventional cars. Final results showed a crash rate of 3.2 per million miles for self-driving cars and 4.2 crashes per million miles for regular cars.
A study like this one has been impossible in the past because of a lack of data. The biggest problem has been that crashes for regular cars are not required to be reported, but self-driving cars must report every crash. For this study, researchers used national crash data in combination with the “naturalistic driving studies” of 3,300 vehicles driving more than 34 million miles to be able to compile enough data to compare to self-driving cars.
One of the most important pieces of data to come out of this study is that crashes involving self-driving cars are less severe than those for regular cars. It is also interesting to note that even though the autonomous cars were involved in crashes, it was never deemed to be their fault for that accident. Usually, the self-driving vehicle is rear-ended by a conventional car because drivers are not used to other cars obeying all traffic laws. In other words, there are very few drivers on the road who follow every single traffic law. Self-driving cars will not speed, will not do a rolling stop, and will not speed through yellow lights. People who are manually driving their vehicles are not used to that, which in turn results in collisions. More and more self-driving cars will be appearing on the road, and other drivers should be aware.
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