Americans Feel Unsafe Sharing the Road with Fully Self-Driving Cars
COLUMBUS – Every year, 35,000 drivers die on America’s roadways, mostly due to human error. Government and safety experts estimate connected and automated vehicles have the potential to prevent up to 80 percent of today’s crashes, but AAA research finds drivers continue to fear fully self-driving cars.
“A great race toward autonomy is underway and companies are vying to introduce the first driver-less cars to our roadways,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “However, while U.S. drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.”
A 2016 AAA survey found that three-quarters of Americans feel afraid to ride in a self-driving car. One year later, that fear is unchanged. Still, six out of 10 (59 percent) of Americans say they want autonomous features on their next car. This contrast suggests that American drivers are ready to embrace autonomous technology, but are not ready to give up full control.
Detailed survey findings reveal distinct gender and generational differences in how drivers feel about self-driving vehicles:
- Half (54 percent) of U.S. drivers feel less safe at the prospect of sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle, while one-third (34 percent) feel it wouldn’t make a difference and only 10 percent say they would feel safer
- Women (58 percent) are more likely to feel less safe than men (49 percent)
- Baby Boomers (60 percent) are more likely to feel less safe than Generation X (56 percent) or Millennials (41 percent)
- Six out of 10 (59 percent) of U.S. drivers want autonomous vehicle technology in their next vehicle, while the remainder do not (25 percent) or are unsure (16 percent)
- Millennials (70 percent) are more likely to want the technologies than Generation X (54 percent) or Baby Boomers (51 percent).
- Three-quarters (78 percent) of Americans are afraid to ride in self-driving vehicles
- Women (85 percent) are more likely to be afraid than men (69 percent)
- Baby Boomers (85 percent) are more likely to be afraid than Generation X (75 percent) or Millennials (73 percent)
“U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver – and they’re correct,” said Brannon. “While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”
AAA urges the gradual, safe introduction of these technologies to ensure American drivers are informed, prepared and comfortable with this shift in mobility.
To educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the on-going, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation.
Variation may be particularly concerning to consumers, with AAA’s survey revealing that 81 percent of Americans feel that automated vehicle systems should all work similarly and consistently across all vehicle manufacturers. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.
Most U.S. Drivers Leery of Auto Repair Shops
COLUMBUS – Two out of three American drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general, according to a new AAA survey. While 64 percent of drivers say they’ve singled out a shop they do trust, 75 million motorists have yet to find a trusted repair facility, leaving them vulnerable when trouble strikes.
The survey found the top reasons that American drivers do not trust repair shops are:
- Recommendations for unnecessary services (76 percent)
- Overcharges for services (73 percent)
- Negative past experiences (63 percent)
- Concerns that the work will not be done correctly (49 percent)
Older drivers are more likely than younger drivers to trust repair shops:
- Baby Boomers are twice as likely as younger generations to trust auto repair facilities, with one in five reporting they “totally trust” the industry.
- Baby Boomers (76 percent) are more likely to have a preferred auto repair shop compared to Millennials (55 percent) and Gen-Xers (56 percent).
Modern cars collect a variety of data about the health of the vehicle. These “Connected Cars” with built-in diagnostic capabilities can alert drivers to vehicle trouble and help repair shops quickly and accurately address issues.
Given security concerns around this data, AAA’s survey found the majority of American drivers want the ability to direct their vehicle’s data to the repair shop of their choice.
Tips to Locate a Trustworthy Repair Shop:
Look for a repair shop before issues occur. Ask family and friends for recommendations.
Research potential repair shops and find out how long they have been in business. This can be a good indicator of a quality shop. Also, look into how they deal with consumer complaints. The Better Business Bureau, State Department of Consumer Affairs or attorney general’s office can provide those complaints.
Visit the shop for a minor job, such as an oil change or tire rotation. While waiting, talk with shop employees and note the shop’s appearance, amenities, technician credentials, and parts and labor warranty. Build a relationship with the technician, so they can get to know you and your vehicle.
As a service to the motoring public, AAA helps drivers identify trustworthy repair shops through its Approved Auto Repair (AAR) program.
This program was created more than 35 years ago and includes nearly 7,000 independent facilities across North America. Once a shop meets AAA’s high standards, including certifications, technical training, cleanliness, and insurance requirements, it becomes part of the AAR program where it’s re-inspected annually and monitored for customer satisfaction.
AAA members receive several unique benefits by selecting an AAR facility, including priority service, a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty, discounts on repairs, free inspections, AAA assistance with dispute resolutions and more.
To locate an AAR facility, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.
Ohio Operation Lifesaver notes reduction in 2016 crossing collisions; pedestrian-train casualties rose from 2015 levels
Columbus, March 27, 2017 – Collisions at highway-rail grade crossings collisions in OH fell by 14% in 2016 and rail trespass casualties (deaths plus injuries) rose by 6.35% according to the nonprofit rail safety education organization Ohio Operation Lifesaver. The group cited preliminary 2016 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics.
“We are gratified with this reduction in highway-rail grade crossing collisions,” said Ohio Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Gena Miller Shelton. “While this decrease in highway-rail crossing collisions is good news, there are still alarming trends. While collisions are down, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, these collisions are occurring when drivers disregard active warning devices at crossings. Further pedestrian trespass casualties continue to increase both in Ohio and across the country. We will continue our work giving people across Ohio important information on how to keep themselves, their friends and their families safe near tracks and trains,” said Shelton.
Nationally, vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings fell 2.4 percent in 2016; however, the number of people killed in crossing incidents rose 13.7 percent last year. Deaths in 2016 from train track trespassing increased 12.8 percent, and trespass injuries jumped 16.4 percent; total trespass-related casualties (deaths plus injuries) increased 14.5 percent from 2015 levels.
Overall, Ohio crossing collisions were down 14 percent in 2016 from 2015, to 74; crossing fatalities fell -41.6% percent to 7; and crossing injuries fell 25 percent to 27, FRA statistics reveal. Trespass fatalities dropped 16.6% percent in 2016 to 16, and trespass injuries rose 6.35% percent in 2016 to 34.
Nationally Ohio is ranked 9th in both crossing and trespass casualties. The top counties for crossing incidents were Butler, Cuyahoga, Lucas, Wood, Erie, Hamilton, and Summit. The top counties for trespass incidents were Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Stark, Summit, and Columbiana. Of the 34 trespass casualties, over 44% of the victims were between the ages of 16-35.
“This year, Ohio will participate in U.S. Rail Safety Week, September 24-30,” Shelton continued. We look forward to working with our safety partners to raise awareness among Ohio residents of the need to always use caution near crossings and refrain from trespassing on the tracks.” she concluded.
Drivers Say Gas Prices Are Too High
New AAA survey reveals impact of rising gas prices on consumers
COLUMBUS (March 28, 2017) – With summer driving season, and higher gas prices, right around the corner, a new AAA survey reveals that nearly a quarter of consumers believe the price at the pump is already too high.
During April, Americans across the country will start to see gas prices climb, as the industry wraps up spring maintenance and completes the switchover to summer-blend gasoline.
The current Ohio gas price average is sitting $0.19 above one year ago at $2.12 a gallon and the national average is $0.24 higher than a year ago at $2.28 a gallon.
AAA projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline will increase 40 cents this summer, peaking near $2.70. In 2016, the national gas price average peaked at $2.38 on June 11 and Ohio’s average gas price peaked at $2.69 on the same date.
To offset the increase in gas prices, consumers say they will make everyday lifestyle or driving habit changes. The top five changes include:
- Combining trips or errands
- Driving less
- Reducing shopping or dining out
- Delaying major purchases
Not everyone will jump to make a change. The survey found that younger Americans (ages 18-34) are more tolerant of higher prices and less likely to change habits than older consumers (ages 35 and older).
Consumer Comfort Level
During the past several years, public opinion for whether a gallon of gasoline is too low or high has fluctuated as much as the price itself. Gas prices sat above $3.00 a gallon from Dec. 2010 through Oct. 2014. This had become the new standard for gas prices, and consumers had begun to accept it. That has since changed drastically.
- In March 2013, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $3.44 per gallon. The national average was $3.64 per gallon at the time.
- In March 2014, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $3.30 per gallon. The national average was $3.49 per gallon at the time.
- In April 2015, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $3.00 per gallon. The national average was $2.39 per gallon at the time.
- In March 2016, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $2.50 per gallon. The national average was $2.03 per gallon at the time.
- In February 2017, half of Americans thought gas was too high at $2.80 per gallon. The national average was $2.27 per gallon at the time.
For additional gas price information, including daily price averages and historical trends, visit GasPrices.AAA.com.
This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), which, when combined, consists of 1,017 adults, 510 men and 507 women, 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed on Feb. 2-5, 2017. At that time the national average was between $2.27 and $2.28 a gallon and the Ohio average was between $2.08 and $2.11 a gallon. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.
Ohio Operation Lifesaver Releases 2016 Results, Honors Volunteer Accomplishments
Columbus – Ohio Operation Lifesaver (OHOL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public safety on and around rail road tracks, honored its volunteers for excellence in 2016. As a group these volunteers touched the lives of over 45,000 Ohioans and gave over 1000 hours of time to OHOL in 2016 worth an estimated over $24,000.
“Our volunteers are the backbone of our organization,” said Gena Shelton, State Coordinator. “In 2015, Ohio saw a 200% increase in fatalities from vehicle/train collisions as well as an increase in pedestrian deaths. These statistics show that the work of our volunteers is more important than ever.”
Ohio Operation Lifesaver recognized several volunteers for excellence:
Volunteer of the Year
Alan Stouder of Pioneer, Ohio – In 2016, Stouder’s efforts accounted for nearly 25% of all hours volunteered with OHOL. Stouder gave multiple presentations reaching over 300 people, served as a volunteer trainer and taught four classes for almost 30 new OHOL volunteers. Stouder also taught classes on rail safety for first responders in the northwest Ohio/northern Michigan area. Finally, Stouder oversaw OHOL’s Ohio State Fair booth, coordinating logistics, volunteer recruitment and management and public relations during the multiple day event.
Excellence in Presentations
Frank Danalewich of Westerville, Ohio – Danalewich was recognized for giving the most presentations of any volunteer in 2016, with 21 rail safety presentations reaching over 4,000 individuals. In addition, Danalewich devotes countless hours to advancing rail safety as chair of the Delaware County Rail Safety Task Force.
Daniel Meckstroth of New Carlisle – Meckstroth was recognized for giving 14 OHOL presentations in 2016 reaching almost 200 individuals. He is a regular presenter to the Clark State Community College CDL training course for truck drivers. In addition, he teaches rail safety to Boy Scouts as part of the rail safety merit badge program.
Ellen Gatrell of Fostoria, Ohio – Gatrell presented the Operation Lifesaver message 10 times in 2016 reaching almost 550 individuals. In addition to giving presentations, Gatrell volunteered her time at the Ohio State Fair, National Train Day Toledo and served as a liaison between OHOL and Fostoria Rail Preservation Society.
Excellence in Special Events
Rick Sanchez, of Lima, Ohio – Sanchez is an employee of CSX Railroad and is being honored for his work in organizing the First Annual Chalk One Up for Safety Event in Lima. In organizing this event, Sanchez created new partnerships in the community and ensured that over 75 youths heard the rail safety message.
Jacqueline Bain, of Delaware, Ohio – Bain is an employee of the Delaware General Health District and is being recognized for her efforts in organizing the First Annual Chalk One Up for Safety Event in Delaware. In her efforts for this event, Bain helped almost 400 individuals receive the rail safety message.
Josh Chapin, of Newark, Ohio – Chapin is an employee of Genesee & Wyoming Railroad’s Midwest office in Columbus and is a resident of Newark, Ohio. Chapin is being honored for his efforts at the 2016 Ohio State Fair.
Ohio Station Outlets in Lodi, Ohio – Ohio Station Outlets is being recognized for hosting the First Annual Chalk One Up for Safety Event at their facility. They provided free space and advertising for OHOL allowing us to reach hundreds of families with our rail safety message.
About Ohio Operation Lifesaver: Ohio Operation Lifesaver (OHOL) is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. OHOL is part of a national network of trained volunteers who give free presentations on rail safety. In addition our public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the general public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more at http://www.oli.org; follow OHOL on Facebook or Twitter.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.