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Survey finds 60% of drivers concerned about self-driving car safety

Date: 24 March 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The growing ability of vehicles to drive themselves is a serious threat to road safety, according to 60% of UK motorists in a survey by IAM Roadsmart.

The road safety charity said that this finding came despite well-documented evidence that most crashes are caused by human error, suggesting the technology had potential to reduce the number of collisions.

However, the charity said that improved safety would only happen if the new systems are used correctly, with driver training being required to understand their capabilities and limitations.

IAM Roadsmart director of policy and research Neil Greig said: "Autonomous and automated vehicle technology is becoming an integral part of everyday motoring and while it does have the capacity to improve road safety, its capabilities must be fully understood to ensure we don't over rely on them.

"Over reliance on these systems, and a lack of training on how to use them, could have a negative effect, with potentially worrying results for motorists and pedestrians alike.

"As an ever-increasing number of vehicle systems take on the tasks that drivers used to perform, IAM Roadsmart is calling for an understanding of automated features to be included in the UK driving test."

IAM Roadsmart added that while the UK Government thinks 40% of cars sold here could have self-driving capabilities in less than 15 years, and the technology could bring economic benefits, concerns still remain about issues such as the cost of the vehicles and data security issues.

Greig said: "Our research clearly shows that many motorists remain to be convinced about the safety of self-driving vehicles.

"While we wait for completely autonomous cars to take over from human drivers driver training will be paramount in ensuring that increasingly automated vehicles are an asset rather than a drawback."