Driverless Cars Could Put City Hall Out of Business

Traffic tickets, insurance agencies and your local city hall will become as anachronistic as horses, buggies, and pay telephones thanks to cars and trucks that don’t need us to drive them any more.

A Brookings study predicts if driverless cars really take off no one will be running red lights anymore and vehicles won’t be crashing into each other, so there will be no need to write either traffic tickets or insurance policies.

The Brookings study also shows the insurance industry should be scared to death about the prospect of driverless cars.

Currently, the insurance industry nets $180 billion a year in the U.S. for car insurance and medical policies associated with traffic crashes.

With automated vehicles, that revenue stream should dry to a trickle.

Look at what happened in California. Since the state legalized driverless vehicles, Google has put more than 1.7 million miles on its driverless vehicles. They have been involved in 11 accidents, but those haven’t been the automated cars’ fault.

Think about it: If all the cars on the road were automated, would any of them collide with each other? And who needs auto insurance if nobody is crashing?

It is not just car and truck crashes that will become nostalgic for us and historic for our grandchildren, so too will the traffic ticket. Driverless cars don’t break the law.

Think about what that will do to local government revenues.

Let’s go back to California, where traffic violators are an important line item in the city of Los Angeles municipal budget.

Drivers who run red lights in Los Angeles pay a fine of $490. Drunk or high drivers are fined up to $15,649 for a first-offense misdemeanor DUI conviction and up to $22,492 for an under-21 equivalent.

Driverless cars stop on red, and never drink and drive.

And then there is parking.