Google's driverless car: Good news for bad drivers

Ford steering wheel

Look past the fact Google's new prototype car doesn't have a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals.

Get over the gee-whiz fascination that people could soon be riding in driverless cars. Instead, see what the Google prototype could represent: the end of bad drivers.

Don't laugh; this may be a peak at a future few could have ever imagined.

If Google's prototype works as planned it will eliminate the need for humans to make driving decisions.

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"They (autonomous cars) free us up to check e-mails, play on our phones, take video calls, or just take a nap while getting to work; things that many people try (and fail) to do today," said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

In other words, Google is taking a bold step: trying to rid the world of drivers who are too slow or too distracted to make the right decisions when they're behind the wheel.

Too slow behind the wheel

Google's new prototype was designed to eliminate the driver in part because Google saw for itself that people behind the wheel of autonomous drive vehicles are sometimes too slow to react in emergency situations.

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How did it make this determination?

CEO Sergey Brin told the New York Times that drivers of the autonomous drive cars the tech firm has been testing were too slow to react when put in certain situations.

"We saw stuff that made us a little nervous," Chris Urmson of Google told the Times.

So Urmson and his team are trying to keep us from making bad driving decisions or from not making any decisions when we should.

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Admittedly, we're a long ways from having completely autonomous cars drive us around America. Still, the potential is enormous.

Honestly, I'm a good driver

Here's why the Google prototype will scare many people: nobody wants to admit they are a bad driver. In fact, most people say they are good drivers. The type of driver who can make split-second decisions when faced with a potential emergency.

Give me a break. All of us have been in situations where we were forced to react quickly behind the wheel and in many cases we didn't.

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Why?

We're not fast enough. Not only that, many of us are distracted making phone calls, texting, eating, or doing a lot of things other than driving.

That's why the new Google prototype is intriguing. It offers us a glimpse of what life could be like if we were saved from making poor choices when driving.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com .

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