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Organ Shortage Due to Driverless Cars

The unintended consequence of taking drivers out from behind the wheel


What's going on?

Driverless cars are becoming more popular among consumers, making daily commutes less stressful as they eliminate driving errors and cut down the number of road accidents. However, there may be an unintended effect of the autonomous tech: reducing the number or organ donors.


Much of the organ donation industry in the US relies on 35,000 people who die in car accidents. If driverless cars can wipe out 94 percent of driving errors in the US, then that means a lot fewer organs available to those in need.


Currently, there are more than 127,000 people on the waitlist for an organ transplant in the US alone, a number that has almost doubled in the last two decades.


Potential alternatives have been suggested to boost the number of human organs available for transplant, among them being to develop a legal organ market with all its attendant ethics problems. Still, the best option, for now, is to develop 3D printing of organs further to cover the shortfall.


Increasing road safety is fantastic, and should definitely be pushed for, but its unintended effects—such as this organ shortfall—should be noted, and steps should be taken to address this before it becomes a significant issue.