Self-Driving Cars Present Questions for the Business of Tow-Trucks, Other Industries
According to the houstonchronicle.com, driverless cars will soon be hitting the road all around the country. While these vehicles are rarities right now, projections indicate driverless cars are going to be more and more common and will eventually be the norm.*
There has been some recent controversy over the vehicles following the death of a pedestrian in Arizona last month when an Uber driverless car struck the woman in Arizona. While the accident is tragic and has led to scrutiny, self-driving cars have been touted for the potential increases in road safety which they could provide.
In addition to changes in transportation and road safety, self-driving vehicles are likely going to have a massive impact on the economy. It is expected that taxi drivers and truckers will lose their jobs to autonomous vehicles. However, the economic impact will reach much farther. One industry that might become obsolete is the tow-truck industry. About 94% of accidents are the result of human error. If self-driving cars are as superior to human drivers as they are claimed to be, this could drastically reduce the number of accidents and therefore the businesses.
Additionally, car dealers might suffer. By some estimates, vehicle accidents led to about 17.6 million new car sales in 2017. But even more than that, many people might opt out of buying a car at all and instead use driverless ride shares.
The body shop industry, which generates about $30 billion a year could disappear as cars are much less likely to be damaged. The insurance industry could be reduced to less than 40% of its size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 1 million days are spent in American hospitals each year because of car accidents- this number will likely plummet, having a massive impact on the medical industry.
Any estimates on the impact of self-driving cars are still speculative, but they will undoubtedly be massive.
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