While self-driving cars might be the way of the future, they’ll definitely be leaving some people in the dust. And who might those people be? They are the ones who rely on driving for income; i.e. taxi drivers, Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, and people who both own and operate private transportation services. According to CNBC, over 2.5% of Arizona’s population make their living off of driving employment, with men constituting over four percent of that total, and women making up less than one percent.
Even though these percentages and numbers aren’t as high as places like New York and Chicago, the switch to driverless cars would be detrimental to the economy, nonetheless.
The logic behind the change, however, is quite simple. Many claim that by switching to driverless cars, there would be a subsequent reduction in the number of vehicular accidents on the road, labor costs, and fuel costs. Naturally, a reduction in accidents would inevitably benefit everyone in the country, while the reductions in labor and fuel costs would only benefit business owners. It would also make taxi rides and the like less expensive for riders, as the price they would begin to pay wouldn’t have to cover part of the cost for the driver being present.
This change won’t be immediate, though. While there will start to be an increase in the number of driverless cars on the road, regulations will still keep a person in the car as a backup operator. At this time, there is no speculation as to when this will change.
More so than the taxi and Uber-like businesses, this will most likely hit truck-drivers the hardest. Not only will drivers be losing jobs, but this change might also affect places like truck stops, motel and hotel businesses, and roadside restaurants.
In the end, there are both good and bad things about these major, potential changes. We can only wait and speculate about the actual impact this switch will make in the future.