One of the big promises of driverless cars has been that the technology will help erase the preponderance of automobile accidents. There are currently some 33,000 people in the United States who died each year in car crashes, and 94 percent of accidents, indeed, are caused by human error. Yet even this hopeful, life-saving efficiency will negatively affect doctors, ambulance drivers, people who work in body shops, glass-repair shops, and other related industries. Then there are auto auctioneers, the telemarketers who answer the phone at call centers when you need to call A.A.A., or get a new lease quote. Loan underwriters, credit managers, actuaries, rental-car agents, people who work in driving schools.
The list goes on and on. Traffic courts will completely vanish. (You can’t speed if you’re not driving.) And think about all the easy money that would be siphoned away from the car industry and government. Americans rack up $6.2 billion in speeding tickets a year. Gone. Billions of dollars in parking tickets. Gone. A truck with no one behind the wheel doesn’t need to stop to get a burger in the middle of the night or use the restroom. All of this makes the people who work at rest stops and motorway hotels useless.