Study: Most Americans remain uncertain about self-driving cars

Over the last decade, we've seen efforts to develop vehicle safety technology undergo something of a seismic shift. Indeed, while the focus of automakers was long centered solely around developing technology designed to limit bodily harm to drivers and passengers in the event of an accident, these efforts have broadened in recent years to develop technology designed to prevent accidents altogether.

By way of illustration, a person needn't look any further than the development of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure systems and, more recently, fully self-driving vehicles.

Interestingly enough, as we move closer and closer to having fully self-driving vehicles on the roads and highways -- something that would almost certainly reduce the number of accidents attributable to everything from impaired driving and distracted driving to speeding and reckless behavior -- it seems that many Americans are still apprehensive about this prospect.

Last year, AAA completed the first stage of a two-year research project, appropriately titled Phase I, which surveyed driver attitudes about fully self-driving cars. Among other things, it revealed that 84 percent of motorists trusted their own driving skills more and 60 percent felt the technology was too new and unproven.

In recent developments, AAA has now released the results of Phase II and it shows that attitudes toward fully self-driving cars have changed very little:

  • 54 percent of people indicated that they would feel less safe sharing the road with self-driving vehicles, while 34 percent said it would not make a difference and a mere 10 percent said they would feel safer
  • 78 percent of people were afraid to ride in self-driving vehicles
  • 59 percent nevertheless wanted some autonomous vehicle technology (emergency braking, etc.)

Given the persistence of these attitudes, the AAA researchers not only encouraged consumers to do more to educate themselves, but for automakers to introduce this life-saving technology slowly but steadily, such that consumers remains "informed, prepared and comfortable" with the inevitable shift.

What are your thoughts on self-driving vehicles?

If the reckless actions of another motorist have caused you or a loved one to suffer serious personal injuries, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options for pursuing justice. 

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