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Will self-driving cars threaten the safety of pedestrians?

New Orleans is a city with a significant amount of pedestrian traffic, including both locals and tourists. With so many people walking as a mode of transportation, it is especially important for drivers to be on the lookout to avoid hitting someone. But what if no one is actually driving the car? Then who is responsible?

Recently, a woman was killed after she was struck by a self-driving car. The self-driving car was in testing mode at the time -- with a human backup driver. This tragic accident is calling into question the safety of this new technology 

New technology brings new safety concerns 

In this particular incident involving a self-driving Uber vehicle, there was a human backup in the vehicle at the time. These types of cars are still in testing phase, and there are several competing companies testing their self-driving models in cities throughout the United States. Consider the following information about this accident and the implementation of this new technology: 

  • Some experts believe this accident underlines and exposes issues with this technology. Some believe automakers should slow down their testing phase.
  • While the pedestrian did step directly in front of the moving vehicle, the car's sensors should have detected the danger and brought the car to a complete stop.
  • The person inside the self-driving car was distracted at the time and was unable to react in enough time to prevent the collision.
  • Several organizations dedicated to motorist safety have asked lawmakers to carefully review this accident and take the time to consider the safety implications of these vehicles.

In a largely pedestrian-friendly city, this accident is understandably a cause of concern. What do you think? Should lawmakers and automakers slow down on testing? What types of laws and policies should be in place?

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