By John M. Cooper personal injury lawyer of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers
Autonomous cars have been making headlines for a few years now. The automotive industry has touted these vehicles as not only more convenient but also safer due to the amount of technology they boast. However, it is that same technology that Americans do not trust. While manufacturers want to chalk this up to a simple fear of the unknown, there may be a valid reason for people to be wary.
The cars are more convenient, but the truth is, no one yet knows just how safe they are. While the pedestrian killed in Arizona by a self-driving Uber has garnered national attention, there have been many other accidents, too. Florida and California have seen several accidents that involve Teslas with the autopilot feature.
Those car accidents were likely on the top of people’s minds who recently were surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos poll. That survey found that two-thirds of participants would not buy a vehicle that was fully autonomous. Another 63 percent said they would not pay more for a car that had autonomous features, while 41 percent said they would pay, but only up to $2,000.
Manufacturers say that once these cars become more popular, and are seen more on the roads, consumers will come around to the idea of them. However, there is little to back that up. The most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll reflects the same findings as a poll the companies conducted back in 2018. The American Automobile Association has also found similar findings in their survey. Clearly, Americans are not yet ready to change their mind when it comes to self-driving cars.
New legislation could change that. Two-thirds of respondents in the latest survey said they would feel better about autonomous vehicles if they had more legislation surrounding them. Specifically, consumers want these vehicles held to a higher standard than others on the road.
Congress, though, is a long way off. They have not enacted legislation expediting the process of getting more of these vehicles on the road, as manufacturers have wanted with any proposed legislation. However, they also have not enacted any legislation that would require these cars to be made safer than any other.
Will Americans start to warm up to the idea of autonomous vehicles, and fear less for their safety when it comes to self-driving cars? As more hits the streets every year, only time will tell. I, for one, do not like the idea of robot cars taking away my freedom.
John M. Cooper is a car accident lawyer and partner at the Virginia personal injury law firm; Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers are experienced attorneys who handle cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful death. Visit Twitter and LinkedIn for more information about the firm.