Tech

Distracted Driving Is A Huge Problem, And Autonomous Cars Could Help

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

More than 30 corporations are currently working on autonomous driving operations, with many already testing the functionality through working prototypes.

“Motor vehicles and drivers’ relationship with them are likely to change significantly in the next ten to twenty years, perhaps more than they have changed in the last one hundreds years,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was quoted as saying in a paper by Adam Thierer and Ryan Hagemann.

A study conducted by NetQuote called “Driving Confessions: 2,000 Motorists Reveal What Really Goes on Behind the Wheel and What They’d Do in Tricky Situations” reveals how drivers in the U.S. constantly and purposefully partake in a number of distracting activities while driving, despite knowing the inherent danger.

Here is a selection of some of the noteworthy actions:

-65.9 percent picked their nose

-51.9 percent ate a full meal

-43.1 percent dressed or undressed

-24.5 percent sent emails

-24.2 percent engaged in sexual activity

-18.2 percent took a selfie

-13.5 percent consumed alcohol

-11.5 percent consumed drugs

-6.6 percent urinated

-2.6 percent put in contact lenses

One in 100 people said they changed a child’s diaper.

These are all things that people could do with significantly less danger if they were operating an autonomous car.

Distracted driving has become such a pervasive problem that the government has a comprehensive website for distracted driving. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 injured due to motor vehicle crashes that involved distracted drivers, according to the site.

A fatal accident occurred while Tesla’s autopilot technology was engaged this year. This is not the first example of such an accident for the company.

The autopilot setting is certainly not full-scale autonomous technology, but the incident is an example that drivers will likely still have to pay attention to their surroundings on the road until the technology is optimized. (RELATED: Tesla Knew About Autopilot Death When It Sold $2 Billion In Stock In May)

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