Road charity calls for autonomous education

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has urged the government and manufacturers to ensure that driver training is available ahead of the introduction of self-driving vehicles.

Speaking to a House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry, it said sufficient training and education was critical to make sure autonomous vehicles do not negatively impact road safety or impose restrictions on drivers.

The main concern for road safety is the level of knowledge and experience of current UK motorists, with most drivers never experiencing the technology before. Research conducted by IAM RoadSmart in collaboration with Southampton University suggested there could be an over-reliance on self-driving technology, with training vital to remind drivers they must still pay attention.

Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “We support the government’s intention to make the UK a world leader in driverless technology, but there is a critical need to train drivers in the new skills they will need to safely control increasingly autonomous cars. Research shows clearly that drivers who know what to expect if an autonomous car suddenly hands back control are better able to deal with the situation calmly and safely. It is vital that the government works with the DVSA and training providers, such as IAM RoadSmart, to develop new resources to educate drivers.

“Thankfully, people are moving away from the assumption that self-driving cars will remove the 90% of collisions allegedly caused by human error. With further research we can understand all the factors that may play a part in future collisions.”