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The roads will be safer with more self-driving cars

The roads will be safer with more self-driving cars
The president of the Los Angeles Tesla Club drives using autopilot on the 101 freeway near Sherman Oaks on July 1. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Driver error — the leading cause of car accident-related injuries — causes 94% of U.S. vehicle crashes. But adaptive driver assistance technologies, including self-driving vehicle technology, will save thousands of lives each year. ("It's time to tap the brakes on self-driving cars," editorial, July 11)

Recent incidents involving Tesla's autopilot feature raise questions about whether these technologies should be fielded before full government regulation. The self-driving car will revolutionize mobility and democratize transportation, offering newfound independence to countless seniors and the visually-impaired. To do so, this technology must be tested and evaluated based on real-world conditions.

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Airbags were introduced over a decade before they were regulated. Early designs weren't as safe as today's versions, but they improved over time through industry collection and analysis of crash data. Similarly, self-driving technologies are now in a critical stage of development — this is not the time for arbitrary regulations.

Gary Shapiro, Arlington, Va.

The writer is president and chief executive of the Consumer Technology Assn.

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To the editor: As a 71-year-old driver of a Tesla Model X, I realize that the car's so-called autopilot is a tool available to me. Never would I drive without my hands on the wheel.

Autopilot does not recognize road hazards, stop lights or stop signs. If I can understand that, why is it so hard for others to do the same?

Joni Duzy, Sierra Madre

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