To most people, the reality of self-driving cars being standard fare on the roads around their home seems about as likely as robotic servers in restaurants (in China, believe it or not!) and wearable technology (like Google’s Glass eyewear and Ravi Ratan’s USB cufflinks), both of which are actually happening as we speak. But what does that have to do with drunk driving, you may be wondering?
As it turns out, probably a lot!
According to Google, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that self-driving cars could be on the road and edging their way into the mainstream within 5 years. Impossible, you think? Not really. And while there are many reasons why the multi-billion dollar corporation thinks this would be a good thing, the reason that interests us most here is the impact it would have on drunk driving.
Imagine this: a woman gets up early and gets ready for work, waking her kids up for school minutes before she leaves, she kisses them and reminds them that breakfast is on the table and dad is in the shower, but he’ll be done in a moment. She rushes out the door and hops into her car to go to work. But notice, she doesn’t get into the driver’s seat….
Her driverless car transports her to work, taking care of navigating the roads while she checks her email and updates her Facebook status. Once at work, she sets the vehicle to it’s “return to home” setting and the car simply goes back to the house alone. Dad and the kids ride together, as their start times are closer together, and when everyone is at their destinations, the car simply returns home to wait until it receives the signal that the first person is ready for pick-up. Amazing, right? It gets better….
Later that night, the woman and her husband send the car out to pick up their babysitter while they get ready for dinner and drinks with friends. Once the babysitter is settled in with the kids, off they go, ready for a night on the town. And what a night it is, the food was great, the drinks were delicious, the hours creep past…..
And when it’s finally time to go home, neither of them is technically sober enough to drive. But that makes no difference, because neither of them has to drive. Transported home in a safe vehicle at a reliable speed, no one is endangered and no one is harmed. The babysitter can also be safely transported home after the couple arrives back at their house, without anyone having to take any unnecessary risks.
While not every family could make this work for their lives and schedules, it is incredible to think that within our lifetimes, drunk driving could be almost entirely eradicated, saving uncountable lives and hugely reducing the amount of time, money and energy expended by the justice system on convicting and incarcerating individuals accused of drunk driving.
It’s certainly something to think about, isn’t it?