There are many ways to improve the health and longevity of humans, but one of the greatest transformations in public health could be in the form of an automobile.
In a recent article in The Atlantic, researchers estimate that the driverless car could reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent by the middle of the century. That equates to almost 30,000 lives a year that could be saved.
Google’s fleet of self-driving cars has learned this lesson first hand. Its cars have driven in autonomous mode for more than 1 million miles since 2009. In all that time, they’ve been involved in 16 accidents through August—none of which were caused by the self-driving car.
According to the report,
for every person killed in a motor-vehicle accident, eight are hospitalized, and one hundred are treated and released from emergency rooms. The overall annual cost of roadway crashes to the US economy was $212 billion in 2012.
In 2011, we shared a post about what people see when they look at a simple dot on a chalkboard. Adults would see a dot. Kids would see all kinds of things: a squashed bug, an owl’s eye, or an asteroid.
I would imagine that when most of us look at a car, we would tend to see a form of transportation, a necessity or even the symbol of years of work and dedication.
I would doubt, however, that many of us would look at a car and see the greatest health achievement of the century.
Look again. Health innovations can reveal themselves in strange places…and they may even come equipped with cup holders.