AAA finds only 12% of drivers would feel safe riding in a car that drives itself

04 March 2020

A new AAA survey reveals that only one in ten drivers (12%) would trust riding in a self-driving car. Even more Americans (28%) don’t know how they feel about the technology.

“Consumers are stuck in neutral on the road to accepting self-driving cars,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “AAA believes people are much more likely to embrace this technology when they have the opportunity to build a greater understanding of how it works.”

Consumers tell AAA that they desire to see more information on key issues surrounding self-driving vehicles like safety and liability:

  • Six in ten (57%) Americans say they would like to have a clear understanding of who will be legally responsible in the event of a crash with a self-driving vehicle.
  • Half (51%) are interested about laws to make sure self-driving cars are safe.
  • Half (49%) want to know how vulnerable they will be to hackers.

“Consumers have made it clear what it will take to overcome their doubts – consistent and transparent information – which will help make them feel safer about the idea of riding in a self-driving car,” continued Jenkins.

What would help Americans feel safer about riding in self-driving cars?

  • Seven in ten (72%) - If they had the ability to take over control if something goes wrong.
  • A similar proportion (69%) - If there was a human backup driver.
  • Half (47%) - Knowing the self-driving car has passed rigorous testing and inspections.
  • Four in ten (42%) - Seeing or experiencing a demonstration prior to getting into a self-driving car.

“Knowing how people truly feel about self-driving cars will help the industry identify the necessary steps to move consumers towards greater acceptance,” Jenkins said.

Today, there are semi-automated vehicles on the road. However, a fully automated fleet is still decades away. AAA conducts research like this study and others to help inform and encourage the industry, media and policymakers to find ways to help consumers connect better with advanced vehicle technology.

Methodology

Due to a change in methodology in 2020, this year’s survey results are not directly comparable to results from prior years. This survey was conducted January 17 – 19, 2020, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,301 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 4% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.

About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, banking, financial services, and travel offerings to over 13.5 million members across 13 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.