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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Self-driving cars expected to cut crashes, organ donations and millions of jobs

Ian Yarnold of the UK Department of Transport, right, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, were part of a Capitol Hill panel discussing government regulation of self-driving cars.
The panel discussion in the Russell Senate Office Building -- "Mobility Talks International" -- was part of The Washington Auto Show, known as "the public policy show," which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. The show closed on Sunday.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two-thirds of organ donations come from car crashes.

So, how will those donations be affected when self-driving cars rule the road and cut the number of crashes drastically?

Experts and government regulators discussed that question and others at a Capitol Hill panel discussion on Jan. 25.

The statistics flew:

In the United States, more than 35,000 people are killed in car crashes, and 2.7 million others are injured.

The cost of crashes was put at $980 billion.

Autonomous or self-driving cars are the biggest opportunity "to cut into the carnage," a panel member said.

But there are so many other potential consequences:

When self-driving cars make up a significant part of all vehicles on the road -- in 10 years to 15
years -- they are expected to put out of work millions of people employed as taxi, truck, limo and ride-sharing drivers.

A dramatic reduction in crashes also will send hundreds of thousands of insurance adjusters and body shop employees to the unemployment lines. 

See other coverage from
 the 2017 Washington Auto Show: