news The NSW Government’s Staysafe Committee has launched an inquiry into driverless vehicles and their potential impact on road safety in the state.
The Committee noted that the potential road safety benefits associated with the introduction of driverless vehicle technology appear “nothing less than ground-breaking” and that they should be examined in detail.
StaySafe cites Gerard Waldron, Managing Director of the Australian Road Research Board Group, as saying Australia’s $27 billion annual ‘road safety bill’ could be slashed by up to 90% with the introduction of driverless cars.
Furthermore, it said, Professor Hussein Dia from Swinburne University of Technology has said that driverless car technology has the potential to reduce road accidents by 90 percent.
“While long considered science fiction, self-driving cars are being developed and tested right now, and predicted to be on roads in the next couple of years,” said Greg Aplin MP, Member for Albury and Chair of the Staysafe Committee.
“The potential road safety benefits are immense,” he continued. “[T]he Staysafe Committee’s inquiry will have a strong focus on establishing the basis for a regulatory framework which will facilitate and foster driverless vehicles technology to deliver improved road safety benefits to the NSW community.”
Staysafe will also look at how prepared NSW road-safety regulators are to meet the potential challenges brought by these technologies and how NSW road safety policies and regulations may need to be amended.
“We are determined to ensure that NSW is prepared to seize all opportunities and mitigate potential risks these technological advances may bring,” concluded Aplin.
Driverless vehicles, if implemented correctly, are likely to bring a number of safety advantages. For example, the reduction or elimination of traffic collisions caused by human driver errors including reaction time, tailgating, rubbernecking and so on.
They also bring the advantage that regardless of the state of the driver – whether suffering from a sudden illness, fatigue or intoxication etc – the car will still drive safely and correctly.
Further advantages include better traffic flow and easier merging due to improved management of inter-vehicle distances.
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