IAM RoadSmart is calling for “proper education of automated technology” to be included in the UK driving test, in a bid to help alleviate the “anxieties” currently held by many motorists.
The findings of a survey, published by the charity on 9 March, suggest many drivers aren’t ready to take their hands off the steering wheel, with 59% of respondents agreeing that the growing ability of vehicles to drive themselves is a serious risk to their personal safety.
IAM RoadSmart says automated vehicle technology “could drastically reduce the number of collisions on UK roads”, but this will only happen if the new systems are used correctly.
It adds this can only be achieved through effective driver education and marketing campaigns which help motorists understand the technology’s capabilities and limitations.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Perhaps due to misinformation and an overabundance of technical jargon, the public still remains to be fully convinced new technology which in theory has the potential to reduce many collisions on Britain’s roads, saving thousands of deaths and injuries.
“In order for this trust to be gained, we recommend that proper education of automated technology is included in the UK driving test, giving motorists the opportunity to learn about how it works, which will at least go some way towards alleviating the anxieties many understandably have at present.
“Equally, drivers must also recognise that an over reliance on these systems could also have a negative impact on road safety, with potentially worrying results for motorists and pedestrians alike.”
IAM RoadSmart also says that its call for education is heightened by the fact that the UK has already given the green light to self-driving on motorways using systems such as ALKS (Automatic Lane Keeping Assist) – as well as predictions that 10% of all vehicles will be at least partially autonomous by 2030.
Neil Greig added: “With Britain being the first to support the roll out of autonomous vehicles on public roads, as well as the growth of the industry, it is surely only a matter of time before autonomous vehicles become a very common sight on Britain’s roads.
“This makes our call for more education all the more important, ensuring we all remain in the right lane and make Britain’s roads as safe as they can be.”