The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the nonprofit research arm of American Trucking Associations (ATA), has reported that certain truck driver behaviors turn out to be good predictors of future truck crashes.
For example, having had one truck crash more than doubled the chances of a driver’s having another — that’s a 113% increase in the likelihood of a crash.
A reckless driving violation also doubled the likelihood of a crash, resulting in.a 104% increase in the chances of a future crash.
Failure to use signals increased the chance of a crash by 116%. Improper lane changes increased chances off a crash by a mere 79%, but failure to yield showed the highest predictive value, at 141% increase in the chance of a future crash.
So it looks like being a bad driver increases your chances of being in a crash. We are not amazed.
And yet one survey shows that 43% of Americans don’t consider autonomous, self-driving trucks safe. 75% of Americans would still rather drive their own car and would not feel fully comfortable as a passenger with no control over an autonomous vehicle.
We see a connection here because we’re pretty confident that autonomous trucks don’t get reckless driving violations or fail to yield to other drivers very often.
The U.S. Department of Transportation points out that there are currently no fully autonomous driving systems on the road. Every vehicle out there is designed to be operated by a human being who is paying full attention. So far, crashes involving autonomous vehicles have all been laid at the door of the human beings who were actually responsible for the driving.
At the same time, the Dept. of Transportation believes that current safety and support systems make automated vehicles safer, and that fully autonomous vehicles will be safer in the long run. Why? The automated vehicles will not face fatigue and boredom as human drivers do.
And yet, even with the clear connection between human error and truck crashes, even with the demonstrable benefits of automated safety systems, we humans don’t trust autonomous vehicles as much as we trust human drivers — or at least not as much as we trust ourselves.
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