IIHS is wrong in claim that only 1/3rd of crashes can be prevented


The IIHS (Insurance Institute) released a study claiming that in spite of claims that self-driving cars could prevent 90% of accidents (the ones where the driver is at fault) the number was only 1/3rd, namely the perception errors and impairment cases. I am not sure they could have got it more wrong, and outline this in a new Forbes.com article:

IIHS is wrong in claim that only 1/3rd of crashes can be prevented


Looks like most accidents fall into the "easy to get right" category, but even that doesn't mean we will get them right.

Hopefully self-driving vehicles will lessen the desire of people to cut corners and do unsafe things to save time. If that happens we can prevent 99% or more of accidents. (I find it odd that "Vehicle failure and impossible road conditions" are considered not to be human error. They pretty much all are human error at some stage, and I bet a large many of them are preventable driver error. Certainly driving in whiteout conditions is driver error.)

My hope is that people will chill out a lot now that they don't have to deal with the mind-numbing and unproductive task of driving. If going places in a car can be much more pleasurable experience, people won't see the need to rush so much.

Maybe this isn't so important to the extent to which the driver will be completely eliminated. Individually-owned self-driving vehicles will likely have a driver making decisions like how fast to go and maybe how closely to follow, for some time. Maybe not so for robotaxis, but to the extent robotaxis don't let people break the speed limit and follow too closely there might be an issue with adoption. Hopefully not. Hopefully people will chill out. From your descriptions more than half of "accidents" are caused by putting speed/convenience over safety if not outright recklessness. Probably a lot more than half.

(In the longer term, with vehicle to vehicle communications, and with roadways dedicated to autonomous vehicles, there will be opportunities for much higher speeds and much closer following distances. But that's probably quite a ways off.)

I forgot to put this in. I predict vehicle failure will be much more rare because these vehicles will get more regular maintenance and also will constantly doing diagnostics. Every day they will test out the brakes and anything else they can test just to be sure all is well, and things will be replaced before failure. All cars will get improved sensing inside the car, of course, but the robotaxi will do live drive testing which humans may not.

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