One of the most highly-lauded advantages of self-driving cars is that a world filled with interconnected autonomous vehicles will significantly reduce the number of traffic accidents and resulting deaths. But this comes with an unintentional consequence: fewer organs will be available to hospitals for patients who need transplants.
As a new report from Slate points out, hospitals around the country already struggle with organ supply shortages. About 6,500 Americans die every year waiting for a transplant, and the waiting list for organs has nearly doubled in the past 18 years, from about 65,000 to more than 123,000.
We don’t have enough donated organs to take care of the patients who need transplants as it is, and one in five organs used in transplants come from vehicular accidents. When the number of automotive-related deaths plummets from self-driving cars, one of the most reliable sources of healthy human organs and tissues will plummet as well. Most analyses suggest that autonomous vehicles will eventually prevent over half of the 35,000 deaths that occur on American roads each year, and some reports are much more optimistic.