Self-Driving Technology Could Mean Safer Streets for Seniors

Self-driving vehicles aren’t just science fiction anymore, they’re on the way. While this technology is controversial, it could bring big safety and social benefits – especially for our nation’s senior population.

Nowhere is that population more vital than in the state of Florida.

Florida has the highest percentage of population aged 65 or older (17.3 percent) of any state, and more senior traffic fatalities (539) occur in Florida than any other state.

Another 388 fatalities occurred in accidents by young Florida drivers aged 15 to 20. Almost one-third of Florida’s 2,939 annual traffic fatalities involved a young/inexperienced or senior driver (31 percent).

This is partly why the Coalition for Future Mobility – a coalition of twelve transportation, passenger safety, and consumer interest stakeholders – are urging the timely passage of federal self-driving vehicle legislation now before Congress.

HR 3388, the Self Drive Act, unanimously passed the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee late last month; companion action awaits introduction in the Senate in September.

This is the first piece of federal legislation to tackle the regulation of what promises to be a huge industry involving self-driving vehicle technology.

Twenty-two states have passed or adopted regulations aimed at integrating this new technology into the mainstream.

What’s needed, say groups like the Coalition for Future Mobility, is a strong Federal law to anchor what has become a patchwork of evolving state regulations.

The benefits for seniors could be enormous. For instance, seniors who are now restricted in their ability to get around on their own may one day regain full independence and vehicular mobility – safely.

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