Self-Driving Cars’ High Accident Rate Sparks Concern

Autonomous vehicles currently are involved in double the crashes of their human-operated counterparts.

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Safety and technology malfunctions were the primary worries among survey respondents. Image via Shutterstock.

Statistics showing self-driving cars are involved in significantly more accidents per mile driven than their human-operated counterparts is contributing to deep-seated concerns and skepticism among Americans towards the burgeoning technology, Forbes Advisor reported.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), self-driving vehicles are involved in 9.1 crashes per million vehicle miles driven, more than double the 4.2 crashes involving conventional vehicles.

This high accident rate is a key factor behind the 93% of Americans who harbor concerns about self-driving cars, with safety and technology malfunctions being the primary worries, according to a study conducted by Forbes Advisor and OnePoll, which surveyed 2,000 Americans.

The survey also revealed a significant lack of trust in autonomous vehicles, with 81% of respondents admitting they have never been in a self-driving car. Moreover, 61% of Americans stated they wouldn't trust a self-driving car with the safety of their loved ones or children, and more than half (51%) are somewhat or very unlikely to own or use a self-driving vehicle within the next five years.

Tesla, a company often associated with leading the charge in autonomous driving, has not been immune to these concerns. Following a series of safety and technology recalls, 62% of consumers have lost confidence in Tesla.

Despite the challenges, 30% of Americans surveys expressed excitement about the future of self-driving vehicles. Potential benefits cited include enhanced mobility for the elderly and people with disabilities, increased efficiency in transportation logistics, and the possibility of multitasking while driving.

However, the road to widespread adoption of self-driving technology appears long and winding. McKinsey & Co predicts that by 2030, only 12% of new passenger vehicles will be sold with advanced auto-drive technologies, a figure expected to rise to 37% by 2035. High costs and consumer reluctance to pay a premium for self-driving capabilities are likely to slow adoption, with only 29% of consumers willing to pay extra for these vehicles.

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