Drivers Still Uneasy About Self-Driving Cars

A survey from AAA reveals that consumers are still wary of automated vehicles.

A view of the dashboard of a driverless car
Seven in ten Americans would feel safer with themselves behind the wheel of a self-driving car, just in case.
metamorworks / Shutterstock

A new AAA survey on automated vehicles reveals that only one in ten drivers (12 percent) would trust riding in a self-driving car. Even more Americans—28 percent—don’t know how they feel about the technology. Consumers told AAA that they want more news stories or public information on key issues surrounding self-driving vehicles such as safety and liability.

Key findings:

  • Six in ten (57 percent) Americans say they would like a clear understanding of who will be legally responsible in the event of a crash with a self-driving vehicle.
  • Half (51 percent) are interested in laws to make sure self-driving cars are safe.
  • Half (49 percent) want to know how vulnerable self-driving cars are to hackers.
  • Seven in ten (72 percent) Americans would feel safer riding in a self-driving car if they had the ability to take over control if something goes wrong. A similar proportion (69 percent) would feel safer with a human backup driver.
  • Half (47 percent) would feel safer knowing the self-driving car passed rigorous testing and inspections.
  • Four in ten (42 percent) would feel safer after seeing or experiencing a demonstration prior to getting into a self-driving car.

“Consumers have made it clear what it will take to overcome their doubts—consistent and transparent information—which will help make them feel safer about the idea of riding in a self-driving car,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “AAA’s automated vehicle survey tells us when people have the opportunity to take back control or even build their understanding of how this technology works, they are much more likely to embrace it."


“Knowing how people truly feel about self-driving cars will help the industry to identify the steps needed to move consumers towards greater acceptance,” continued Brannon.

Automated vehicles are still decades away from hitting the roads, however AAA conducts research like this study and others to help inform and encourage the industry, media and policymakers to find ways to help consumers connect better with advanced vehicle technology.