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60% of motorists see autonomous cars as a serious danger

IAM RoadSmart is calling for an understanding of automated features to be included in the driver training and the UK driving test as its research reveals drivers have major concerns over vehicle safety.

60% of motorists consider the growing ability of vehicles to drive themselves as a serious threat to road safety, rising to 64% for drivers over 70, and 66% when focusing on female drivers

A survey by the road safety charity has revealed that 60% of motorists consider the growing ability of vehicles to drive themselves as a serious threat to road safety, rising to 64% for drivers over 70, and 66% when focusing on female drivers.

That’s despite the general view that giving greater control to the vehicles themselves in the future will reduce the number of collisions by eliminating incidences of human error.

According to government projections, 40% of UK new car sales could have self-driving capabilities in less than 15 years.

However, the IAM says road safety will only improve if the new systems are used correctly, including through driver training to understand their capabilities and limitations.

Director of policy & 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.”

Greig continued: “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.”

He added: “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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.

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