In Congress, obsessed with health care reform and two competing amnesties—the Succeed Act and the DREAM Act— the House of Representatives still found time to unanimously pass a bill to speed the introduction of self-driving cars into the market place.
The bill authorizes the initial manufacture of 25,000 self-driving vehicles, a cap that will increase to 100,000 after three years, pending National Highway Travel Safety Administration checks.
The argument in favor of self-driving cars is that it will eliminate human error which is estimated to be responsible for 94 percent of the more than 30,000 annual fatal U.S. crashes, a total which is rising. But critics point to the possibility that self-driving vehicles could easily be confused by graffiti-covered road signs. A University of Washington study found that slight changes on signs could lead a vehicle to read “Stop” as “Go Faster.”
Indisputable, however, is that self-driving vehicles will eventually displace thousands of bus, taxi, limo and truck drivers, jobs that generate modest incomes for Americans that have high school-only educations or that provide temporary employment for workers that have been fired from higher paying jobs. According to the American Trucking Association, 3.5 million commercial drivers and 7.5 million trucking-related jobs are at risk.
As Congress debates contentious amnesty bills that will provide life-time work authorization, it should remember that as automatic advances, and some reports predict that as many as 45 percent of Americans’ occupations will be automated within 20 years, immigration to fill jobs Americans allegedly won’t do is unnecessary.