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Most Americans Are Uncomfortable with Self-Driving Cars

fully autonomous vehiclesWhile many Americans are open to some form of autonomous technology in their next vehicle, most still fear vehicles with self-driving capabilities, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Vehicles with autonomous capabilities like self-braking have shown to significantly reduce traffic accidents caused by human error.

However, three-quarters of Americans are uncomfortable with a vehicle that can operate without a human driver, regardless of its high safety potentials.

Only 10 percent of Americans reported to AAA that they would feel safer sharing the roads with fully autonomous vehicles.

At a time when U.S. traffic fatalities have surged, AAA and other auto safety advocates have supported auto manufacturers’ efforts to equip more vehicles with autonomous safety features.

AAA Survey Shows Americans Have Long-Held Suspicions of Autonomous Vehicles

The concerns American drivers have over fully autonomous vehicles are not new. In 2016, AAA found that three-quarters of American’s were afraid to ride in a car that could operate without a human driver. This attitude is relatively the same just one year later.

However, AAA’s 2017 survey found the majority of Americans are now more willing to have some form of autonomous technology in their next vehicle.

Sharing the Road with Fully Self-Driving Vehicles

More than half (54 percent) of those surveyed by AAA feel less safe at the possibility of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle.

More than one-third (34 percent) feel indifferent to the prospect and only 10 percent reported they would feel safer driving next to a self-driving car.

Women were also more likely to feel less safe than men if they had to share the road with a self-driving vehicle (58 percent to 49 percent).

Age also played a factor in accepting driverless vehicles, as 60 percent of baby boomers feel less safe, compared 56 percent of Generation X and 41 percent of millennials who were hesitant to the prospect of driving next to a fully autonomous vehicle.

Owning a Vehicle with Some Form of Autonomous Technology

While most Americans do not trust fully autonomous vehicles, 59 percent of U.S. driver are open to those with limited self-operating capabilities. The remainder either oppose the idea (25 percent) or are unsure (16 percent) of this prospect.

Millennials (70 percent) are most likely to want a vehicle with some autonomous features, compared to Generation X (54 percent) and baby boomers (51 percent).

Anxiety to Ride in a Self-Driving Vehicle

AAA found that 78 percent of Americans are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle.

This fear tended to associate with age, as baby boomers (85 percent) were more likely to be afraid than Generation X (75 percent) or millennials (73 percent).

Gender also played a factor in Americans’ fear of riding in a self-driving vehicle, as women were more likely to show anxiety than men (85 percent to 69 percent).

Appeal for Consistency

AAA’s survey also revealed that 81 percent of Americans desire consistency in the operation and performance of vehicles with autonomous technology.

Auto manufacturers that equip vehicles with autonomous technologies often use a combination of features that differ in each model. This may attribute to some of the skepticism Americans have shown.

Pennsylvania Begins to Draft Legislation for Self-Driving Cars

As more self-driving vehicles are being released, Pennsylvania’s legislators are drafting new laws to prepare the state for the technology.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are currently discussing Senate Bill 427, which would create new standards and regulations for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads.

The bill would hand authority to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to create and revise policies concerning self-driving cars operating on the state’s roads.

It will also establish a safety advisory committee that would implement new policy recommendations as the technology develops.

However, the proposed legislation does not address issues related to the future deployment and public assimilation of self-driving vehicles.

The bill instead focuses on early requirements for self-driving vehicles to operate within Pennsylvania, such as:

  • Establishing levels of control over the cars, either in person or remotely
  • Defining who counts as a “driver” in order to establish liability
  • Requiring officials be notified in the event of a cybersecurity breach
  • Determining which roadways can be used to test “platooning,” a wirelessly connected caravan of self-driving trucks that follow behind a human driver

Experienced Legal Help for Car Accident Victims

Although auto manufacturers continue to produce vehicles with improved safety technology, car accidents consistently occur because of careless drivers.

If you have been injured or lost someone you love because of a negligent driver, you may have legal options. Our Harrisburg car accident attorneys will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to discuss the possibility of maximizing the compensation for your loss. We only work on a contingency fee basis and charge no upfront legal fees. We only get paid if you are awarded damages for your claim.

Call (717) 888-8888 to speak with a car accident attorney in Harrisburg.