Will Self-Driving Cars Make Chicago Roads Safe?

Technological advances have made their way into almost every aspect of a typical Chicago’s resident’s life. Some are very obvious and difficult to avoid – cell phones have moved from a luxury to a requirement, from a simply calling device to a pocket communicator with greater capabilities than some computers. Other advances are more difficult to notice but still have a tremendous impact on life nonetheless. Smart traffic lights allow for lights to change only when opposing traffic is present. Automated inventory systems make sure that a grocery store never runs out of your favorite type of cereal and that each box you purchase is always fresh. Firework displays off Navy Pier are timed and synchronized to give the audience a stunning show. In 2015, it is clear that technology is present everywhere and that, for the most part, it is improving the daily experiences of those in Illinois.

One area where technology is being eagerly anticipated is in the rise of so-called “self-driving vehicles.” More commonly referred to as autonomous vehicles by the transportation industry, the technology to make vehicles run themselves is being developed at lightening speeds by many auto makers and is already being deployed in limited fashion by others. The most widely known example of autonomous driving is that being utilized in the Google driverless cars.

On a basic level, creating a self-driving car is simple to understand. Many modern vehicles are already equipped with basic GPS functions that can assist drivers with traveling from one point to another. That GPS is linked with the driving functions of a car and additional technology is added so that the vehicle can monitor the road itself, like traffic patterns, congestion, and stop signs. When everything works together, a human can input a destination, sit back, and watch the car drive itself. Ideally, this will let motorists use travel time more productively by allowing their attention to be anyplace other than the road. Commuters will be able to work on their drive when in an autonomous vehicle and family road trips could mean everyone sleeping through the night, awaking in their desired locale.

But what will the rise of autonomous vehicles mean for automobile safety in Chicago? According to experts and numerous forecasts on the subject, the future is very bright. The majority of car accidents that take place in the Chicago area occur due to the negligence of one or more motorists involved. Though some accident happen due to a fault in design in a vehicle or a mechanical failure, the vast majority properly are blamed on human error. If humans no longer are behind the wheel, the belief is that all of these crashes caused by human error can be eliminated.

Chicago may see the complete elimination of speed-related car accidents and those caused by distracted drivers. No longer will people have to worry about other drivers being drunk or impaired behind the wheel because there will be no need for anyone to be behind the wheel. The economic savings in the Chicago area from the elimination of most car accidents could be more than a billion dollars annually and could be trillions of dollars across the nation. What’s more is that injuries and deaths attributed to car accidents could be completely avoided, protecting citizens and keeping families whole.



While these developments look promising for those who drive in Chicago, it is worth noting that most motorists will not have an autonomous car anytime soon. Though Google is testing its vehicles on public California roads, most manufacturers who are working on the technology are still in the developmental stages. In fact, in 2014, it was only legal to test drive autonomous cars on roads in California, Michigan, Nevada, and Florida with legislation in many other states banning any form of driverless car.

Current estimates predict the widespread availability of self-driving vehicles by 2025, a mere 10 years from today. That means that there is a chance that today’s kindergarteners will never learn how to drive a car and will never have to worry about the serious risks associated with driving when another motorist makes a mistake.

The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. look forward to a day where Chicago residents can be free from the threat of harm posed by car accidents. But unfortunately, that day is not today. In the meantime, if you are injured or if your loved one is killed in a collision, make sure you understand your legal options and whether you have a valid claim for your damages.

Our team of injury lawyers is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. We offer all victims a free, no-obligation case consultation regarding their accidents and if we represent a victim in a case, we will not charge a fee unless we are successful in making a recovery.

If you have questions or if you need help, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us get to work for you.

Prior Blog Entry:

Why Construction Workers are Often Injured On the Job, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 3, 2015.

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