I do a lot of driving. A very lot. And I’ll admit maybe I am getting old and impatient but I think driver skills and behaviors are much worse than they used to be. Speeding, abrupt lane changes, passing on the right, driving way too slow in the left lane, texting while driving, poor on ramp merging. Need I go on? Those of you who spend hours and hours behind the wheel have seen these behaviors and much more from drivers of both passenger cars and trucks.
It almost seems like driver education has flown right out the window. Sure lots of people take drivers’ education in order to get their driver’s license the first time. And of course there is the initial driving test where you have to demonstrate certain good driving skills. But after that renewal is often a matter of paying a fee, taking a vision test, perhaps taking a written test and in the case of CDL bringing along your DOT medical certificate. No one checks on a regular basis that your driving skills have stayed sharp.
The way I see it, autonomous vehicles can help with this issue. They will be configured to follow the rules of the road and to use best driving practices taking away a great many of the problems that are caused by bad drivers. In theory, they will be much safer because they will remove the human element from many driving decisions. And let’s face it, we humans don’t always make the best decisions. Highway vehicle fatalities are up and projected to be more than 40,000 for 2016.
As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I am all for anything that helps eliminate bad driving and bad drivers.