Combat Income Inequality by not talking about Income.
In America today being employed in anything over a minimum wage job, almost requires a car. Most cities do not have reliable public transportation, and even those that do, cannot provide personalized routes just for a few people. The result is that many who would be otherwise qualified to be productive cannot. Many people do not have access to cars, due to this they are unable to acquire employment that requires reliable transportation, therefore the government should allow autonomous cars on public roads, this would allow more people to afford access to a car, as well as allow access to those who cannot drive, due to disability or legal impediment.
Not only are cars expensive, but there are a multitude of reasons a person may not be able to drive. Many people are unable to drive due to disability, so even if they were able to afford a car, they are still left without access; others do not have the privilege to drive, often courts will strip someone of their ability to drive as punishment for a violation of state traffic laws. One of the laws that results in an automatic revocation of someones driver's licence is allowing insurance to expire, even if the only reason that it did so was for lack of funds to pay for it. The costs of owning a car quickly add up, especially for low income workers. With minimum wage being $7.25 an hour, the hundreds of dollars a month that is required to maintain a car, can take weeks to earn enough to cover. Paying for insurance, tags, inspection, fuel, and general maintenance, leaves little left for other bills, but these costs do not even include the acquisition cost of the car, which even for a used car may be many months of salary.
There is a technologically feasible solution to these problems, and other driving ills, autonomous cars. Autonomous cars would allow for cheaper travel as they would not require a driver, so hired cars would be cheaper, but private cars could also be shared more easily. People with disabilities would not be barred form using their own car, people with legal troubles would not be forbidden from driving. Along with the simple fact that without drivers, many of those legal troubles would no longer occur. Finally, since autonomous cars are much more efficient than human driven ones, the actual costs of maintenance, fuel and insurance would be lower, further lowering the bar of access.
The largest hurdle for the widespread adoption of autonomous cars is regulatory. With most States forbidding such cars from the roads, the public has very little access to them. However, if the states were to adopt a regulatory programme that allows for "driverless" cars, the benefits to the populace would be almost incalculable. The current estimates say that if only ten percent of cars were driverless, then deaths from car accidents would drop by ninety percent. With billions of dollars saved from not paying for accidents, the economy would have a massive resource to put to other uses.
It is important for the economy that people work. It is imperative for most jobs that people have access to cars. But many people are blocked from access to cars by either financial, legal or physical disabilities. These people would be allowed to fully integrate into the modern US economy if states would allow autonomous cars. Therefore, without delay, states should adopt laws allowing for the presence of autonomous cars on public roadways.
Robert W. T. Short, Sr. is a civil libertarian, and a veterans rights advocate, who served two tours in Iraq. He is a political consultant by choice, an accountant by trade and a chaplain for numerous groups by calling. Him, his wife and their three children, two dogs and five cats live in Lynchburg, Virginia. He can be reached on facebook and twitter at https://www.facebook.com/RWTSSr and @RobertShortSr, respectively.