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Americans reject self-driving cars and want to stay in control

Americans know that self-driving cars would make the roads safer. They don't care. Studies show that they want to stay in control of their vehicles anyway.

The results come from a Kelley Blue Book study. It asked people if they would rather have self-driving vehicles or continue to drive on their own, and the majority did not want to see the new technology take over even if accidents declined.

That's a striking difference from what some companies have been saying. The ride-sharing company Lyft, for example, said that people in major cities would stop owning private vehicles, for the most part, as soon as 2025. Obviously, some of the reason there could be trains, buses, and other means of transportation -- which is why many people in cities already reject vehicle ownership -- but a large part of their reasoning was just that self-driving cars would take over. People could then use services like Lyft to order cars when they needed them, rather than buying them.

What is the reason for the difference? Why don't Americans want to switch, even if they know self-driving cars would be safer since human error causes the majority of accidents?

One expert said that it was largely due to the culture. Most people in the United States own cars. Many children get them at 16 or even before. They drive them for their entire lives. There's just this sense of freedom and mobility, and people enjoy not only owning cars, but driving themselves.

The United States is sometimes criticized for not accepting public transportation, and the same issue could be at the heart of that decision. People want to drive themselves, not be driven by others.

However, that expert did say that this could mean other parts of the world change technology faster than the U.S. If self-driving cars do develop as quickly as projected, in a country where people typically don't use their own cars -- instead choosing buses, trains, taxis and ride-sharing, then they may then accept self-driving vehicles readily. They're already used to having someone else drive, so why not let the computer take over, especially when it's safer?

Some of the problem in the U.S. is just disbelief. During the study, over 60 percent of people said they don't think all cars will be self-driving in their lifetimes.

This resistance to new technology could be problematic. There are tens of thousands of fatalities in traffic accidents every year, and yet people want to keep driving, just as they've always done. If they keep pushing back against technology that could help reduce the amount of yearly fatalities and injuries, the roads may theoretically remain far more dangerous than they need to be.

With this in mind, you can see how important it is to know your rights if you suffer injuries in an accident caused by human error.


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