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Michigan Business Network
March 15, 2017 5:00 PM


New AAA survey reveals that Americans still leery of a driverless future 


DEABORN, MI —  In 2016, a AAA survey found that three-quarters of Americans reported feeling afraid to ride in a self-driving car.  One year later, a new AAA survey found that fear is unchanged. The report reveals that a majority (59%) of U.S. drivers seek autonomous technologies in their next vehicle, but remain apprehensive about a fully self-driving car. This marked contrast suggests that American drivers are ready to embrace autonomous technology, but they are not yet ready to give up full control.


Although autonomous vehicles are considered to be safer, more efficient, and more convenient than their human-driven counterparts, three out of four motorists are afraid to ride in self-driving cars.  Only 10% report that they’d actually feel safer sharing the roads with driverless vehicles.

As automakers press forward in the development of autonomous vehicles, AAA urges the gradual, safe introduction of these technologies to ensure that American drivers are informed, prepared and comfortable with this shift in mobility.


 “To fully understand the pros and cons of the new car technology, consumers need to educate themselves,” said Gary Bubar, Traffic Safety and Public Affairs Specialist, AAA of Michigan. “Education is the key to consumer acceptance. Autonomous vehicle safety features have the potential to save lives.”


Key Findings


  • Over half (54%) of U.S. drivers feel less safe at the prospect of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle.
  • One-third (34%) feel it wouldn’t make a difference.
  • 10 % say they would feel safer.
  • Women (58%) are more likely to feel less safe than men (49%).
  • Baby Boomers (60%) are more likely to feel less safe than Generation X (56%) or Millennials (41%).


  • The majority (59%) of U.S. drivers want autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle.
  • (25%) do not
  • (16%) are unsure
  • Millennials (70%) are the most likely to want the technologies
  • Generation X (54%)
  • Baby Boomers (51%).

Fear Factor

  • Three-quarters (78%) of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
  • More likely to be afraid
  • Baby Boomers (85%)
  • Millennials (73%)
  • Generation X (75%)
  • Women (85%) are more likely to be afraid than men (69%).


To educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the on-going, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. It is clear motorists have different values and beliefs regarding fully autonomous vehicles, however, new technology will continue to shape the future of driving. AAA will continue to educate the motoring public on the associated benefits and limitations involved with these new features.

“Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to dramatically reduce the number of people lost to traffic fatalities, added Bubar, “Automakers, government agencies and safety organizations like AAA must continue working together to ensure that these new vehicles are safely tested and deployed.”

For additional information about the survey, including a fact sheet and infographics, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.



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