If you were hoping to see self-driving cars on the busy streets of Williamsport before anywhere else, you should be prepared to be disappointed. In fact, in order to see fleets of self-driving cars in action, you may need to visit a retirement community.
Recently, for instance, the largest retirement community in the country announced that it has plans to introduce a fleet of automated taxis. The vehicles, which are technically not fully self-driving because they will have a “safety driver” just in case, could help tackle some of the most troubling factors facing senior drivers.
How automated cars can specifically benefit elderly drivers
Drivers who are beyond retirement age may not want or be able to drive as much as they used to. They may live in smaller communities; they might suffer from conditions that cause memory loss or vision impairment; they could be easily confused and overwhelmed.
These factors can put them at a serious risk of causing an accident when they do get behind the wheel. They can also make elderly drivers feel like they cannot drive, putting them at risk of being isolated.
Driverless cars offer a unique solution to all these issues and could be of great benefit to elderly drivers.
Caveats to consider
As beneficial as driverless technology can seem, there are caveats to consider. For instance, the senior population may not trust self-driving cars as readily as younger generations might. This could make them hesitant to take advantage of driverless cars options, even if doing so is in their best interests.
It is also important to recognize that driverless technology is still in testing stages, meaning that it would not be prudent to expect wide availability in the immediate future.
What this means for drivers on the road today
It is certainly exciting to think about the many possibilities that come with self-driving cars, especially when it specifically benefits a population of high-risk motorists. However, today, operation of motor vehicles lies in the hands of human drivers. This means that if a driver is unsafe or reckless behind the wheel, he or she is liable for any damages suffered.