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AAA survey: many Americans uneasy about autonomous cars

Self-diving cars are still decades away from becoming a reality, but it pays for automakers to know the public's anxieties about them. North Carolina residents should know that AAA conducted a survey in January 2020 asking respondents if they would feel safe riding in a self-driving car. Only 12% answered affirmatively.

It appears that there is a lack of tangible information regarding self-driving cars and that this is one cause behind the public's doubts. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they want a clear understanding of who would be legally responsible in a crash when it involves a self-driving car. Just over half expressed interest in the laws that would go toward making these cars safe while 49% wondered if the cars can easily be hacked.

Respondents were able to give their opinion as to what would boost their confidence about the safety of fully automated vehicles. For 72%, it was a matter of control; if there was an option for them to take over driving in an emergency, they would feel safer. Sixty-nine percent said they would feel safe if the cars required a human back-up driver. Rigorous inspections and testing would ease the concerns of 47%. Lastly, 42% expressed the desire to see or participate in a demonstration of the vehicles before getting into one.

The current problem is with semi-autonomous vehicles as many of the features are making drivers complacent and, thus, more prone to distraction. For example, someone who overestimates the abilities of automatic emergency braking can get into a rear-end collision. Those who are injured in a crash and who find out that the other driver was distracted may be eligible for compensation. To see if their case holds up to North Carolina's strict rule of contributory negligence, victims may want to hire a lawyer.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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