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Poll: More Than 9 In 10 In Key States Concerned About Driverless Cars

By Luis Sanchez, THE HILL

May 22, 2018

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/388854-poll-more-than-9-in-10-…

More than 90 percent of people in a handful of key states are concerned about the safety of driverless cars, according to a poll released by an advocacy group on Tuesday.

Consumer Watchdog released a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) showing doubts about driverless cars in California, Florida, Michigan and South Dakota.

The group said it selected those states because they are home to key senators from both parties who are involved in current debate over driverless car legislation, including Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

More than half of respondents in the poll, 56 percent, said they were "very concerned" about the safety of driverless cars. Another 23 percent said they were “somewhat concerned” and 14 percent said they were “a little concerned.”

The poll also found that 79 percent of respondents were concerned about the security data driverless cars collected. And 75 percent said Congress should hold off on passing legislation that would allow more driverless cars until the technology becomes safer.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was one of several senators who in March sent a letter to Thune and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) expressing concerns over the upper chamber's driverless car bill, which remains stuck in the Senate after receiving approval from the Senate Commerce Committee last year.

That legislation aims to speed up the development and testing of autonomous vehicles.

Some estimates say that the world will have about 10 million driverless vehicles by 2020, yet 54 percent of Americans said they are unlikely to use such vehicles, according to Gallup.

Recent highly publicized accidents involving self-driving cars have also been blamed for causing a dip in consumer trust for autonomous vehicles.

Seventy-three percent of American drivers said that would be too afraid to ride a self-driving vehicle, up from 63 percent in late 2017, according to a separate poll from AAA released Tuesday.

In March, a self-driving car operated by Uber — which had a person behind the wheel — fatally struck a woman in Arizona, marking the first pedestrian death associated with autonomous vehicles.

A few weeks later, a Tesla vehicle being driven on autopilot crashed and caught fire, killing the driver.

The PPP survey of of 2,374 voters was conducted May 15-16 via automated telephone interviews and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

– Mallory Shelbourne contributed

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