Many environmental laws are passed in order to preemptively undercut the eventual economic impact of doing nothing. That’s one reason why environmental laws are often aimed at automobile manufacturers: because cutting carbon emissions from cars and trucks could significantly reduce the opportunity for climate change-related natural disasters to affect us financially in the future. But environment is just one of the economic impacts of automobiles in the United States.
Did you know that the economic impact of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. is about $76.5 billion? That doesn’t even begin to evaluable the real burden for everyday families, who must acquire the legal services of a car accident, personal injury, or brain injury lawyer after suffering from a TBI. This adds yet more billions to the pricetag.
The Trump administration has fought to eliminate carbon emissions restrictions — an action lamented even by the car manufacturers it was aimed to help — which might produce short-term profits in exchange for long-term catastrophic loss. Economists and environmentalists know this already, but the GOP doesn’t seem like it cares. And even Democrats are careful about the promises they make regardless of the magnitude of the problem.
There are a number of ways to reduce the economic burden associated with automobiles. One, make safer vehicles. New safety features are a staple of modern vehicles. Automatic parking or lane changing, sensors that detect a potential collision before one takes place, etc. These reduce the number of accidents even as distracted driving increases (which is another major cause of car accidents).
Two, reduce emissions. Thanks to Tesla, automakers are looking to produce more electric cars in 2021 than ever before. Automated vehicles are also part of the lineup. Not only will these make driving safer, but they will also optimize driving to reduce gasoline use, and therefore lower emissions as well.
Three, take care of people who are in accidents. TBI is one of the most common injuries after any car accident. Victims sometimes require lifelong care. That means state, local, and federal governments must make access to disability insurance and social security disability benefits easier to obtain. Right now, wait times can extend for years. This is unsustainable in the long-term.
Thankfully all 50 states have passed new legislation in the last fifteen years to make prevention and treatment easier for car accident victims, sports injury victims, and veterans. Much of the legislation forces hospitals and insurance adjusters to help cover costs for survivors.
The support system is critical for survivors of TBI because most victims suffer from acute memory loss for months or years — or forever. That means they need their family and friends to help them more than ever. TBI can also result in damage to the logic and reasoning centers of the brain, making victims far more susceptible to con artists and scammers, who know that these are easy targets. That means more legislation in the future should be aimed toward increasing criminal penalties associated with scammers who target TBI victims.
Wondering how else automated vehicles could make our world less costly? Check out this video: