The majority of drivers consider autonomous vehicles a threat to road safety, according to a study by road safety charity I AM RoadSmart.
The survey’s results revealed that 60% of motorists consider the growing ability of vehicles to drive themselves as a serious threat to road safety while female drivers and drivers over the age of 70 had higher concerns, 66% and 64% respectively.
According to the charity, the results do not reflect what it described as “the well-documented evidence” that most road incidents are actually caused by human error and suggested that giving greater control to the vehicles themselves might actually reduce the number of collisions.
However, it also stressed that automated vehicle technology could only improve road safety if new systems were used correctly and said that driver training would be required to better understand the capabilities and limitations of autonomous vehicles.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research, IAM RoadSmart, 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.”
The UK government recently predicted that 40% of new car sales could have self-driving capabilities in less than 15 years.
Furthermore, autonomous vehicle advocates have also highlighted the financial benefits of the technology to the UK economy, predicting a potential worth of £42bn by 2035, together with the creation of nearly 40,000 British jobs.
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