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New Report: Don’t Forget the Role of Humans in Autonomous Vehicle Safety

Even as self-driving technology reduces crashes, imperfect human operators will still share the road and share the wheel.

Because human error is the cause of the large majority of car crashes, autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to greatly improve safety. In the near future, however, there will continue to be crashes involving AVs as they share the road with vehicles driven by humans.

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, Preparing for Automated Vehicles: Traffic Safety Issues for States, finds that most AVs for the foreseeable future will share driving responsibility with humans. Drivers will still exert significant control and will be able to change their vehicle’s level of automation, just as drivers today can activate or deactivate cruise control.

Automated vehicles will bring new traffic safety issues to the states. This report suggests how law enforcement and state highway offices should prepare for them.

“Many people are unconvinced of the safety benefits of AVs and unwilling to share the road or to ride in them,” said Ryan Gammelgard, Counsel at State Farm®. “However, research suggests that public enthusiasm and support will grow as people learn more about AVs and are able to experience them first-hand, and if there is objective proof that the technology operates better than humans.”

The report was authored by Dr. Jim Hedlund, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and funded by State Farm.

The full report is available here.


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