Driverless cars are coming! Would you be happy to give up the right to drive?

Smartwatch parkin
Smartwatch parkin

More than 65 per cent of motorists want to retain the right to drive even though driverless cars are coming, two new pieces of research released today have shown (April 28th 2016).

IAM RoadSmart – formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists – conducted an independent survey of 1,000 British motorists and a separate poll among its 92,000 members.

Those 65 per cent of motorists believe that a human being should always be in control of the vehicle with 53 per cent saying that the focus should be on making drivers safer – not just cars.

Members of IAM RoadSmart welcome the hi-tech advances which are improving vehicle safety, but want to maintain their control of a car – even though autonomous technology will be able to do it for them.

Sarah Sillars OBE, chief executive of IAM RoadSmart said:

“Technological advances that make driving and riding safer for all road users have to be embraced whole-heartedly – but British motorists and our members, do want the right to drive.

“Intelligent cars will deliver a step change in road safety by targeting the human errors we make from time-to-time. At IAM RoadSmart we believe a well-trained driver and an ever-vigilant car is a win-win scenario for the future.

“This technology will also prove to be a major boost for business and keep UK PLC at the very edge of technological advance.

“IAM RoadSmart is the leading specialist in the interaction between human and machine and will play a significant role in this fundamental shift – which will see UK roads the safest, most business friendly and connected in the world.

“The government is due to consult this summer on how the UK can lead the development of autonomous vehicles; we are ready, willing and able to participate fully in this discussion.

“One could see a time when motorists might be restricted to driving on designated roads – and possibly just for pleasure rather than for work or getting from A to B.”

The research comes as IAM RoadSmart celebrates 60 successful years improving driving and riding standards across the country and unveils a ‘new name, new look and a new tone’ to support 21st Century road users for the next 60 years and beyond.

IAM RoadSmart is positioned to meet the needs of a new generation of drivers and riders. The change brings together the charity with its commercial subsidiaries – IAM Drive & Survive, Professional Driver Services and Driver Retraining Academy.

Sarah Sillars said: “We are proud of our heritage – and excited about the future.

“The majority of our members feel that improving driver skills is essential. Nowhere is this truer than in helping drivers to review their skills in line with new technology.

“We want to continue to be the best and most recognised provider of training and advice to drivers and riders, a sustainable charity and still be central to all road safety policy making.”

The Opinium survey of motorists – results:

65% thought that a human being should always be in charge of a vehicle.

20% thought that driverless cars were a ‘good idea’.

34% thought that driverless cars were a ‘bad idea’.

22% thought that driverless cars would ‘be the norm on UK roads’.

52% thought that driverless cars would never be the norm on UK roads.

16% thought that driverless cars are an ‘exciting prospect’.

When told that 95% of accidents were down to ‘human error’ and that there was ‘a strong case for taking driver control out of the equation’:

24% agreed with the proposition.

15% disagreed with the proposition.

60% said ‘wait and see’.

When asked whether they would ‘consider using a driverless car’:

32% said yes they would.

38% said no they would not.

29% said that they were unsure.

In the poll conducted among IAM RoadSmart members:

87% thought that once driverless cars are readily available driving should NOT be banned by law.

92% would welcome automated systems that stopped tailgating.