A recent study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) has found that 73 percent of Americans would not ride in a self-driving vehicle because they are too afraid. AAA surveyed 1,014 American drivers, and found that fear of self-driving cars is present in all age groups.
Every day an average of 102 people are fatally injured in car accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Self-driving cars are being touted as the answer to preventing accidents caused by driver error and negligence.
Although self-driving cars are not yet the norm, when an accident happens it tends to get significant attention in the media. As a result, millennials’ trust in their safety has actually decreased in recent months. Over the last six months, the number of millennials who reported that they were too afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle has risen from 49 to 63 percent.
Perhaps one of the most prominent stories in the news impacting consumer confidence occurred in Arizona, when ann Uber driver was behind the wheel in an autonomous vehicle. As a test-driver for Uber, she was supposed to be watching the road as a back-up in case the new autonomous technology failed.
A dashcam was recording the driver as she intermittently looked down at something in her lap. Tragically, the dashcam recorded at that same time a bicycle crossing the road and getting struck by the Uber driver’s test car. Following the crash, Uber ceased use of all self-driving cars until the company got answers and was able to fix the problem.
This accident was extremely high profile, likely because the dashcam footage was shared online by local police. In response, the vehicle’s manufacturer went so far as to acknowledge that mistakes are going to happen. They further said that it is expected that 100 to 500 individuals will lose their lives in similar accidents. This, they went on to point out, would be in the interest of saving some 34,000 lives with this technology in the long-run.
The issue of how safe autonomous vehicles are is a complex one. As people become more attached to their smart phones, and accidents caused by distracted drivers rise, autonomous driving technology will continue to improve and help the vehicles become safer over time.
Currently, autonomous cars are classified on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 being fully human-driven, and a 5 being a completely autonomous vehicle. Most new cars on the road today fall somewhere in the middle, usually a level 2 on this scale. These are referred to as “driver assisted,” and not exactly “autonomous.”
The AAA study was not limited to asking consumers how safe they would feel in a self-driving car. It also asked people how safe they would feel as a pedestrian in the presence of autonomous cars. Sixty-three percent of all Americans surveyed indicated that they would feel less safe in the presence of autonomous vehicles.
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident involving a self-driving car or any other type of car accident, call the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Toms River, Edison, and Red Bank, and serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.