driverless cars vs. police departments

In my view, driverless cars are revolutionary. At the very least, they will eliminate a major health problem – auto injuries and fatalities. No system will be accident free, but driverless cars will be better at driving that most humans, they don’t get drunk, and they won’t drive recklessly.

There is another social consequence of driverless cars that needs discussion. Driverless cars will seriously disrupt police departments. Why? A lot of police department revenue comes from moving vehicle violations and parking tickets. In a recent news item, one judge admitted that many small town fund their police department entirely through speeding tickets. Even a big city police department enjoys the income from tickets. New York City receives tens of millions in moving violation fines. This income stream will evaporate.

Another way that driverless cars will disrupt police departments is that they will massively reduce police stops. If a driverless car has insurance and registration (which can be transmitted electronically) and drives according to the rules of the road, then police, literally, have no warrant to pull over a car that has not been previously identified as related to a specific crime. Hopefully, this means that police will no longer use moving violations as an excuse to pull over racial minorities.

Even if a fraction of the hype about driverless cars turns out to be true, it would be a massive improvement for humanity. Three cheers for technology.

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Written by fabiorojas

November 3, 2016 at 12:15 am

5 Responses

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  1. No, Driverless cars will CREATE a major health problem. The technology will never be exacting enough to react to the actual diverse environmental situations encountered by real motorists—like children crossing the street. It is amusing that many people who are typically skeptical of science somehow embrace this fanciful sci-fi technological solution to their own inability to drive in a competent fashion. It’s like the people who can’t drive who buy Volvo’s to compensate for their incompetence behind the wheel. We need public transportation for people who can’t drive. We don’t need driverless cars, and they will not reduce fatalities. We have been reducing fatalities from automobiles for five decades. Driverless cars will not have any effect…Jesus fuck, who the fuck is going to own these? ….It’s simply idiotic.



    November 3, 2016 at 12:48 am

  2. The main claim for driveless cars and health is not that they factor complex situations well (not yet, at leas) like children jumping in front of them. The major improvement is that they don’t drive drunk, they don’t speed, and they don’t drive like reckless teenagers who are texting. Just avoiding these behaviors is a massive, massive improvement.

    Liked by 1 person


    November 3, 2016 at 1:31 am

  3. […] at Orgtheory, Fabio ruminates about the disruptive effects that driverless cars will have for police, […]


  4. I love the STS aspect of this post. How do our technologies enable our racist social structures? Can new technologies obviate them? Cool.

    Liked by 1 person


    November 3, 2016 at 3:02 am

  5. How do you get a priceless car to pull over?

    Liked by 1 person

    Jim Rose

    November 3, 2016 at 3:15 am

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