VOL.3

Can Self-Driving Cars Lower Your Insurance?

If switching to a self-driving car could reduce your auto insurance rate by 80 percent, would you do it? According to a survey conducted by carinsurance.com, nine out of 10 people would trade a car they control themselves for one controlled by a computer. However, the consumer attraction toward a self-driving car is founded almost entirely on the possible auto insurance savings—consumer confidence in self-driving cars is not nearly as consensual. 2 percent of that same sample surveyed indicated that they believe humans drive cars with more awareness and expertise than a computer can. So there is a glaring tradeoff between a desire to decrease auto insurance rates and an aversion toward self-driving cars. And resolving a tradeoff presupposes a weighing of benefits and drawbacks. But in this scenario, there may only be benefits.

Another survey conducted by the Eno Center for Transportation reflects that self-driving cars can navigate roads better than drivers. Their study showed that 90 percent of traffic accidents were due to operator errors – not deficiencies in the vehicles themselves. This study puts forth that if 90 percent of the vehicles in the U.S. were self-automated, almost 22,000 lives could be spared and $450 billion dollars saved annually. So can these findings be put into practice? The answer seems to be yes. Nevada and California enacted laws to allow the licensing of self-driving cars. Other states have started testing the cars including Florida and New York and decisions are pending on the matter in Michigan, New Jersey and Washington D.C. As self-driving cars have been in development since the 1950s, kinks in them have been ironed out, and while they will not replace vehicles that require a driver overnight, they are still considered a viable means of transportation, perhaps even safer than the cars we drive ourselves.