Carolinians Still Uncomfortable with Self-Driving Cars

A recent AAA Carolinas survey revealed that 71% of Carolinians are not yet comfortable with self-driving cars, with only 29% saying they were ready for a ride in a fully autonomous vehicle.

Across the country, however, drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles. The annual survey reveals that 63 percent of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017. Millennial and male drivers are the most trusting of autonomous technologies, with only half reporting they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car.

How safe are self-driving cars?

Every year, more than 35,000 people die on U.S. roadways so AV technology is intended to improve safety. Human error contributes to more than 90 percent of crashes.


Can I buy a car now that drives itself?

There are vehicles with many self-driving technologies included but even the most advanced systems available today require your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Experts agree that we’re unlikely to see a fully self-driving fleet for decades, but we may begin to see some highly automated vehicles in the next three to four years.

Additional survey results include:

  • Only 13 percent of U.S. drivers report that they would feel safer sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while nearly half (46 percent) would actually feel less safe. Others say they are indifferent (37 percent) or unsure (4 percent).
  • Women (73 percent) are more likely than men (52 percent) to be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, and more likely to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car (55 percent versus 36 percent).
  • Millennials are the most trusting of self-driving vehicles, with only 49 percent (down from 73 percent) reporting that they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car. While the majority of baby boomers (68 percent) still report being afraid to ride in a self-driving car, this generation is significantly more comfortable with the idea than they were a year ago, when 85 percent reported being afraid.
  • Baby boomers (54 percent) and Generation X (47 percent) drivers are more likely than millennial drivers (34 percent) to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car.

Although fears of self-driving vehicles appear to be easing, U.S. drivers report high confidence in their own driving abilities. Despite the high percentage of crashes related to human error, three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. drivers consider themselves better-than-average driversMen, in particular, are confident in their driving skills with 8 in 10 considering their driving skills better than average.

To help educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the ongoing, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency brakingadaptive cruise controlself-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.