Some will say South Carolinians should be embracing anything that can make our roads safer.
Again this past weekend, the state with the deadliest roads per capita saw the toll grow.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announced four people were killed on the state’s roadways from Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
As of March 11, 145 people have died on South Carolina highways, compared to 193 highway deaths during the same time period in 2017.
Amid the carnage, South Carolinians and Americans as a whole remain confident in their driving abilities.
Three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. drivers consider themselves better-than-average drivers, according to a survey by AAA. Men, in particular, are confident in their driving skills, with eight in 10 considering their driving skills better than average.
There is evidence people should not be so confident in their skills. More than 90 percent of crashes involve human error.
So is technology the solution to eliminating driver mistakes? Autos today have more safety features than ever. They save lives – and people approve.
But there is no consensus on the most revolutionary of all safety features: self-driving vehicles.
Across the country, drivers are beginning to embrace self-driving vehicles. AAA’s annual survey reveals that 63 percent of U.S. drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, a significant decrease from 78 percent in early 2017.
But South Carolinians and our North Carolina neighbors are less trusting.
AAA Carolinas found in a survey that 71 percent of Carolinians are not yet comfortable with self-driving cars, with just 29 percent saying they are ready for a ride in a fully autonomous vehicle.
Nationwide, it is no surprise that older Americans agree with South Carolinians and younger people do not.
The AAA survey found millennials are the most trusting of self-driving vehicles, with only 49 percent (down from 73 percent) reporting they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving car.
Baby boomers (54 percent) and Generation X (47 percent) drivers are more likely than millennial drivers (34 percent) to feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving car.
Yet while a majority of baby boomers (68 percent) still report being afraid to ride in a self-driving car, the generation is significantly more comfortable with the idea than a year ago, when 85 percent reported being afraid.
The numbers will change as technology continues to advance, but there remains room for the belief that trust in technology should verified.
We join AAA in the belief that automakers must prioritize consumer education.
And these numbers from the AAA survey tell us there are miles to go.
Only 13 percent of U.S. drivers report that they would feel safer sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while nearly half (46 percent) would actually feel less safe. Others say they are indifferent (37 percent) or unsure (4 percent).