The safety of self-driving cars questioned

Even as self-driving technology is said to be improving, a new study shows that consumer trust in autonomous vehicles is declining.

In scanning media headlines, Connecticut residents might initially believe that most Americans feel positively about the development of fully autonomous vehicles. With the thought that these vehicles might keep people safer, that idea is not completely hard to understand. However, are most Americans really ready to embrace this technology and share the road with computer-driven cars?

Are consumers ready for self-driving cars?

In 2016, J.D. Power polled consumers around the country to get a pulse on their openness to autonomous vehicles. Once again in 2017, they did the same thing. It might seem logical that people's openness to this emerging technology would have increased in the past year. However, the opposite is actually true.

In every age demographic except for one, the level of distrust for self-driving technology declined year over year in the survey. Baby boomers had the highest distrust rating with 44 percent. That was followed by a 34-percent distrust ranking among people born from 1965 to 1976.

However, it is not only older generations that are skeptical of self-driving cars. Even trust among people born from 1995 to 2004 dropped to a level of 22 percent. The only group that saw a decline in its level of distrust was that involving people born between 1977and 1994. Last year, their distrust was 18 percent and this year it is at 17 percent.

What does the research show for self-driving safety?

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has no shortage of data to show safety or fatality statistics for human-driven vehicles, the same cannot be said of self-driving vehicles. In fact, Fortune indicates that it may be nearly impossible to collect enough information with which to accurately report on the safety of self-driving cars.

A RAND Corporation study suggests that mass quantities of data are needed to understand safety and risks associated with autonomous vehicle technology. That means these vehicles need to be on the road actively driving in order for data to be collected.

What regulations are in place to keep people safe?

One big concern among many is the lack of uniform safety measures. According to Scientific American, this is due largely to the fact that there is no legislation governing this industry or technology. As a result, each company developing these vehicles is coming up with its own set of safety measures and standards.

What should I do if I am in an accident with an autonomous vehicle?

Connecticut residents always have the right to be compensated after an accident. This does not change just because a vehicle may have been computer-driven instead of human-driven. Talking to an attorney after such a crash is the best way of learning how to proceed in this situation.