Jim Epstein of Reason discusses self-driving cars with Marc Scribner.
Federal auto safety regulations fill nearly 900 pages with standards that determine everything from rear-view mirror and steering wheel placement to the shape of vehicles and the exact placement of seats. Many of the rules don't make sensein the coming era of self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicles don't need rear-view mirrors, or (eventually) steering wheels. Their ideal physical form is still a work in progress.
"That these need to be perfect before we can allow them on the road is a mindset that has affected a lot of urban planners and...the pro-regulation set," says Marc Scribner, a senior fellow at the free-market think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Since the alternative to allowing imperfect self-driving cars on the highways is the status quo—100 Americans die every day in automobile crashes—perfection shouldn't be the standard.
"Delaying self-driving car technology," Scribner says, "means we're going to see additional deaths that we simply could have avoided if we allowed these vehicles on the road that are not perfectly safe but safer than the cars we have today."
"If we need to install all of this electronic infrastructure on highways," Scribner says, "and we're having problems filling potholes, just from a pure budgetary and management perspective, you're dreaming."
Read the full article at Reason.