IAM RoadSmart is calling for information on the capabilities of autonomous and automated vehicle technologies to be included in the UK driving test.
According to Government projections, 40% of new car sales could have self-driving capabilities in less than 15 years.
IAM RoadSmart says while automated vehicle technology could have the power to improve road safety – this will only happen if the new systems are used correctly, including through driver training.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Autonomous and automated vehicle technology is becoming an integral part of everyday motoring and while it does have the capacity to improve road safety, its capabilities must be fully understood to ensure we don’t over rely on them.
“Over reliance on these systems, and a lack of training on how to use them, could have a negative effect, with potentially worrying results for motorists and pedestrians alike.
“As an ever-increasing number of vehicle systems take on the tasks that drivers used to perform, IAM RoadSmart is calling for an understanding of automated features to be included in the UK driving test.”
The call comes on the back of a survey from IAM RoadSmart, which found 60% of motorists consider the growing ability of vehicles to drive themselves as a ‘serious threat to road safety’.
Female drivers (66%) and drivers over the age of 70 years (64%) had even higher concerns, the survey shows.
Neil Greig added: “Our research clearly shows that many motorists remain to be convinced about the safety of self-driving vehicles.
“While we wait for completely autonomous cars to take over from human drivers, driver training will be paramount in ensuring that increasingly automated vehicles are an asset rather than a drawback.”