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Survey finds that a majority of Americans are scared of sharing the road with self-driving trucks


Automated vehicle technology deployment is on the rise, but a recent survey shows that a large number of Americans aren’t happy about it.

Earlier this month, auto safety group AAA and partner Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs released the results of a survey intended to provide insight on how U.S. drivers feel about sharing the road with self-driving vehicles — and self driving trucks in particular.

The survey found that 53% of respondents felt less safe about sharing the road with self-driving semi trucks. Only 11% reported feeling safer. Twelve percent said that they felt there was no difference in safety when sharing the road with self-driving trucks, and 24% reported that they were unsure how they felt about the question.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said they felt less safe sharing the road with any type of self-driving vehicle on a highway or freeway. Forty-four percent reported feeling less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle on a local or neighborhood road.

The survey also asked respondents what would make them feel safer. Sixty-two percent said that they want clear markings on the vehicle to let them know that the vehicle is autonomous. Another 60% want designated lanes for self-driving vehicles only. Thirty-one percent said that they want self-driving vehicle travel to be restricted to certain times of the day or days of the week.

According to AAA, 38 states and the District of Columbia are allowing active testing of self-driving vehicles on their roadways, but only 35% of U.S. drivers know that some states allow self-driving test vehicles on public roads.

AAA outlined four key areas of focus to deal with driver concerns about self-driving vehicles:

  • Self-driving vehicles demonstrate safe and predictable behavior – as defined by regulators – when in use on public roads and highways.
  • Self-driving vehicles operate consistently and as designed.
  • The public clearly understands who would be responsible in the event of a crash with a self-driving vehicle.
  • The public can easily and quickly identify when sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle.

For more information on the survey, please click here.


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