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Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

Posted January 04, 2017 10:18 AM by HUSH

More and more Americans are dying in roadway accidents. It is an unfortunate truth of our time of distracted driving and overburdened thoroughfares. In fact, 2015 saw an eight percent increase in traffic fatalities over 2014, the largest year-over-year increase in more than 50 years. By comparison, 2014 saw a half-percent increase, while 2013 saw a three percent decrease.

Final data is still being tabulated, and early returns showed another bull market for traffic fatalities in 2016, with a 10-plus percent increase expected over 2015 as of October. Due to the recent remarkable and tragic increases in traffic deaths, the U.S.’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Safety Council launched the public safety program Road to Zero, with the purpose of outright eliminating traffic fatalities by 2046.

Road to Zero has several initiatives which will help jump start this program in the present, such as seat belt campaigns, road behavior campaigns, public service announcements, and data-driven enforcement. Yet improved automotive safety is a cornerstone to the Road to Zero program, and obviously self-driving autos are the most obvious choice if one were to bet on which technology could deliver zero traffic deaths within thirty years.

Clearly autonomous autos aren’t there, quite yet. But IHS Automotive is predicting 21 million autonomous cars by 2035, with about 20 percent of those in the United States, and the numbers growing from there. The Road to Zero program acknowledges that eliminating or nearly eliminating traffic deaths by 2046 is also going to take equal parts education, enforcement, emergency response and engineering, but the goal is quite feasible.

Of course there are many secondary and tertiary factors to the transportation revolution, such as how self-driving cars could reshape many industries and social factors. Yet one of most overlooked consequences of autonomous cars could be its effects on organ donation and transplants.

By current estimates, one in five donated organs comes from the body of an individual who has died in a car accident (and more so for bikers). If self-driving cars can fulfill even a fraction of their promised safety enhancements then the inventory of donation-eligible organs begins to decline rapidly. Yet the organ waiting list has nearly doubled to 123,000 since 1999.

So how will dwindling supply meet increasing demand? Since the 1980s it has been illegal to sell organs in the U.S., but reversing this decision will be difficult to police and regulate, spark wealth injustice issues, and bring about many other controversies without much of an organ payoff. France recently went from on opt-in organ donation system to an opt-out. Basically, all healthy individuals are considered organ donors if they die prematurely, unless they have paperwork in place to prevent organ harvest. But such a policy has never gained traction despite being introduced in several U.S. state legislatures. Israel has a policy of moving organ-needy patients up on the donation list if they have family members who are organ donors, but there is an ethical argument to be had here as well.

Instead, the best chance at reinvigorating organ supply lies with 3D tissue printing. This is a technology that is even further behind than autonomous cars in its development, but is very much a possibility. Organovo’s NovoGen MMX bioprinter is arguably the most advanced bioprinter today. Currently the company sells ‘bioficial’ organs and tissues to pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies so they can test products. Eventually Oganovo wants to produce transplantable organs, most likely from stem cells.

As the saying goes, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” What saves thousands of drivers might cost thousands of patients. Of course, this isn’t an argument against autonomous autos, but rather an argument for 3D printed organs, as some of the other potential solutions (such as selling organs) could result in a waking up in a strange bathtub full of ice and a kidney missing.

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#1

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/04/2017 11:19 AM

Autonomous cars, yes, but if more of the organs come from bikers, what of autonomous motorcycles? Would there even be a market for those?

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#2

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/04/2017 12:49 PM

It shouldn't be that difficult to tweak the software to correct for the unacceptably low organ donor supply.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/04/2017 1:57 PM
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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/04/2017 7:53 PM

My hope is that when autonomous cars take over I'll be too old to care!

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#5

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/05/2017 6:39 AM

I say we tap in to the Lawyer/Politician pool for organ harvesting purposes.

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#12
In reply to #5

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/08/2017 3:44 PM

I gave you a GA, but I doubt many folks would want anything from one of them

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/09/2017 6:26 AM

Yeah, I was sorta thinking the same thing, after I posted it. Many alcoholics in that group.

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#6

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/05/2017 2:16 PM

Is this blog about a lack of possible donor's or about a new class project called, " The road to zero program ".

The donor program appears to be addressed by 3d tissue printing.

The road to zero program is addressed in a different way or in the same way that programs such as this have been implemented over the years. Upon examination of the (rtz) road to zero program, there are some interesting highlights:

1. The plan is for 30 years, yet the funding is only for 3 years.

2. The plan calls for significant resources yet only 1 million dollars has been allocated per year.

3. The plan calls for action in five main areas:

A. Seat belt use.

B. Installing rumble strips.

C. Truck safety.

D. Behavior change campaigns.

E. Data driven enforcement.

(A) seat belts, these have been in all cars since before the 1970's and even though I watched movies in school like, " Red Asphalt ", even today I read news briefs in the local paper about someone who died in a traffic accident who wasn't wearing a seat belt.

(B) rumble strips are those irregularities molded along the shoulder of a roadway or in some jurisdictions upon approach to a road construction project. The idea is to alert the driver that they are leaving the paved section of a roadway and drifting unto the shoulder. Essentially they are a good idea because most highways in the u.s. have unpaved dirt shoulders and the transient dirt shoulder is often graded at 15+* to allow for drainage. Vehicles that drift into this surface often overcorrect, thus resulting in rollovers. Of course the installation of a rumble strips cannot mitigate those drivers that are distracted or suffer the effects of fatigue.

(C) truck safety. When all else fails, we can always blame the truck driver.

(D) behavior change campaigns. With all sorts of new devices coming out every day that take the responsibility of careful and safe (sic) driving away from the operator, it's highly unlikely this campaign has a chance of success. As examples:

1. GPS. This device tells the driver how to get from point a to b, by doing so the driver no longer needs to look at road and street signs and only has to listen to a computer generated voice saying, " turn left, turn right and you've arrived.

2. Traction control. This device relieves the driver of prudent vehicle control in inclement weather conditions. With this device activated the operator can drive faster on a given roadway up unto the limitations of the device at which point ( unknown) control is lost.

3. Avoidance systems. As a device contributing to operator observance, this device actually rewards the driver for engaging in distracted driving.

E. Data driven enforcement. Here is an area that a whole new blog can be written about.

Another point in the plan is to eliminate fatalities on roadways, sidewalks and bicycle paths.

And the most important part of the plan that just about sums it up:

An effort will be to find ways to ensure that inevitable human mistakes do not result in fatalities.

These are excerpts taken from the: road to zero coalition's page found at: https://www.transportation.gov.>us-dot-...

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#7

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/05/2017 4:30 PM

Soylent Green is people, you barbarians! Grow your own damned organs. I am keeping mine for the happy hunting ground! That is the problem with this high and mighty humanity, that thinks they are entitled to every thing. NO, you are not entitled to everything. Even if you think you can pay for it, no, these are my organs not yours you a class hole.

How about running out of morons that needs organs, because their freaking parents were too stupid to know they were not supposed to procreate together, finally got a clue, and stop fornicating out of wedlock with everything that moves.

And stop inbreeding!

Now I know why I could never find an organ at a Church of Christ. They sing Acapulco.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/08/2017 9:23 AM

Is that really you? Or you into autonomuous mode with someone stronger than you?

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#8

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/06/2017 3:29 PM

I never intend to buy an autonomous automobile, for personal reasons. I like to drive. Warning devices (radar, etc) are fine with me. I know there are blind spots. But I want to be in control.

To my way of thinking, the argument that autonomous vehicles are going to restrict the supply of organs from dead people is specious and completely irrelevant.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/08/2017 9:24 AM

I agree.

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Guru

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/09/2017 9:04 AM

Do you even know what you are agreeing to? How about you agree to get lost for a term, two terms, and half a term?

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#9

Re: Autonomous Cars Could Dwindle Organ Donation Supply

01/06/2017 11:07 PM

The second picture in the OP is mislabeled. That rider is not a 'future organ donor'. He is wearing a helmet. He is a future quad/paraplegic.

.

I don't think autonomous vehicles will reduce the availability of donated organs. The needs being fulfilled by the motorcycle in the second picture are not those of simple transit from A to B.

Autonomous vehicles will not satisfy the desires that drive people to do things like stunt riding on streets.

People will continue to get their thrills and in doing so enter themselves into the organ donor lottery.

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