Driverless Cars’ Impact on Jobs…. Should You Be Worried?

There are many articles out there regarding the potential loss of jobs associated with a driverless society.  Here are a couple of examples:

Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck

Will Driverless Cars Force a Choice Between Lives and Jobs?

These articles cite the many jobs that will likely be impacted (and even eliminated) with driverless cars: truck drivers, chauffeurs, taxi drivers, delivery people, etc.  The first article also describes the chain effect this disruption could cause:  “Those 3.5 million truck drivers driving all over the country stop regularly to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. Entire businesses have been built around serving their wants and needs. Think restaurants and motels as just two examples. So now we’re talking about millions more whose employment depends on the employment of truck drivers.”

The second article highlights the impact to people with jobs related to car accidents: “[Despite the improvements to safety,] that won’t protect the hundreds of thousands of jobs tied to car accidents, such as in emergency rooms, hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, auto parts factories, tow-truck operators, collision repair shops, insurance claim call centers and so on.”

While I think this is all true, I also think this will happen gradually and people will find other opportunities. And this has happened so many times before:

  • Lyft and Uber are massively disrupting the taxi industry.
  • Electronic toll collection replaced the need for toll takers.
  • Electronic books replaced the need for many brick and mortar book stores and libraries
  • Email has lessened the need for the U.S. postal service

Our society has thrived and people have found other jobs.  I guess I’m pretty heartless….

About Lauren Isaac

I am the Manager of Transportation Sustainability at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Recently, I won the William Barclay Parsons fellowship for my research proposal to study how the United States government should respond to driverless cars. As I'm working on my research, I thought this blog would help to disseminate my findings and provide a forum for feedback.
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One Response to Driverless Cars’ Impact on Jobs…. Should You Be Worried?

  1. I agree with you – doors open and close. People in the ‘car accident impact’ industry will all find other jobs to the extent they are displaced as a result of driving becoming safer. Great post, and food for thought. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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