The road safety charity Brake is setting out to dispel some of the ‘myths and misconceptions’ surrounding self-driving vehicles. Brake says research suggests more than one in three (36%) people believe they would be less safe in a self-driving vehicle than with a human driver in control.
This is despite experts estimating that automated safety technology could save around 3,600 lives on the UK’s roads and prevent more than 47,000 serious crashes over the next decade. With 85% of crashes that result in injury caused by human error, Brake says the new technology has the potential to reduce crashes caused by drivers who are speeding, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The charity adds that self-driving vehicles also have the potential to make journeys safer for people who walk and cycle, by using advanced sensors and automated technology to detect and monitor people outside the vehicle, and take action to avoid crashes.
Another myth the campaign is looking to bust is that vehicle owners would be held responsible if their self-driving vehicle crashed. One in two people (50%) also believe this to be true, while in reality – under recent laws – the insurance company would manage the liability.
A Brake spokesperson said: “Each year, road crashes cut short thousands of lives, while many more people are catastrophically injured on our roads. The vast majority of crashes are caused by human error, so self-driving cars have the potential to reduce the unacceptably high rate of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
“Technology has advanced incredibly in recent years, but it’s disappointing that there are still so many myths and misconceptions about them.
“We’ve launched our campaign to encourage people to find out about the benefits of new vehicle technology. We hope to challenge myths and show that self-driving vehicles can play a vital role in improving safety and reducing the unacceptable number of deaths and injuries on our roads.”