Opposition to Self-Driving Vehicles Declines Nationally According to AAA

A new survey by AAA says American drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles.

The Oklahoma offices of AAA released the survey results showing 63 percent of U.S. drives report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. That’s down from 78 percent reported in early 2017.

In 2016, a survey of Oklahoma drivers found that 41 percent believed autonomous vehicle technologies will result in more crashes. And only 30 percent said they felt the technologies would result in fewer crashes.

AAA says riding in a fully self-driving vehicle may seem futuristic, the testing is underway in the U.S. and it means sharing the road with an automated vehicle is “an increasingly near-term possibility.”

But the 2016 survey of Oklahomans found only 21 percent believed then they would be routinely riding in a self-driving vehicle within 10 years. At least 86 percent in the survey expressed concern about the security of data shared by autonomous vehicles. Another 83 percent think local and state governments should inform the public about when and where testing of self-driving vehicles will occur.

AAA Oklahoma plans a free public webinar Thursday, Feb. 1 at noon to explore what’s occurring now and what’s ahead as vehicle technology evolves. The group said it wants to inform Oklahomans and “prepare them for this shift in mobility.”

“Drivers are so confident in their driving abilities that they may hesitate to give up full control to a self-driving vehicle,” Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson, said. “But in our state, traffic deaths are the number one cause of preventable deaths and serious injury. The facts speak for themselves. Education, exposure and experience will likely help ease consumer fears as we steer toward a more automated future.”

Additional results of the 2017 national AAA survey include:

  • Women (73 percent) are more likely than men (52 percent) to be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, and more likely to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car (55 percent versus 36 percent).
  • Millennials are the most trusting of self-driving vehicles, with only 49 percent (down from 73 percent) reporting that they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car. While the majority of baby boomers (68 percent) still report being afraid to ride in a self-driving car, this generation is significantly more comfortable with the idea than they were a year ago, when 85 percent reported being afraid.
  • Baby boomers (54 percent) and Generation X (47 percent) drivers are more likely than millennial drivers (34 percent) to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car.