The invention of self-driving cars has been in the works for some time now. There could be many benefits of self-driving cars in the future, including fewer crashes and people being able to make more efficient use of their time. But according to Morgan Stanley, there could be one major consequence of self-driving cars that concerns the financial services firm’s analysts. The use of fully autonomous vehicles will most likely cause a drastic increase in alcohol consumption.
People will have to spend less time driving, which means they can spend more time drinking. They also won’t have to worry about having a designated driver or getting pulled over for driving drunk. Almost 300,000 times a day, people drive drunk but fewer than 4,000 of those drunk drivers are arrested. In the imminent, technologically advanced future, this could become a non-issue.
The adoption of autonomous vehicles means good news for anyone in the business of alcohol production. The increase in drinking could cause the value of the alcohol industry to rise by $56 billion.
Ride-sharing services like Uber, Morgan Stanley says, are already contributing to an increase in alcohol consumption, since people don’t have to drive themselves home after a night out. The driving-after-drinking mindset has gone from “I have to drive, so I can’t drink” to “I can drink and someone else will drive”.
But the positive side of this is that there has already been a decrease in alcohol-related car accidents due to the use of ride-sharing services. In the United States, 28 people die every day due to alcohol-related car crashes. It’s expected that while alcohol consumption may increase, autonomous vehicles will have a direct impact on a decrease in drunk driving-related car accidents.
Companies making advancements in autonomous vehicle technology hope to one day have a completely autonomous car, but they have a lot of work to do. Self-driving vehicles will need to reach the point where they need absolutely no human assistance for people to safely “drive” under the influence of alcohol. Studies show that Americans aren’t quite ready to jump into a fully autonomous car, although that seems to be where most autonomous vehicle technology companies are heading.