GHSA Report Finds Human Operators Most Dangerous Aspect of Autonomous Vehicles

by Jake Tully - Published: 8/15/2018

Earlier today, the Governors Highway Safety Association announced the release of its latest report, Preparing for Automated Vehicles: Traffic Safety Issues For States, addressing the concerns of human operators in the emerging field of autonomous trucking.

According to the new report from the GHSA, funded in part by State Farm, human operators will still be responsible for the safety and authority of autonomous vehicles, much like human operators currently are for various controls behind traditional, standard commercial vehicles.

“Imperfect human drivers aren’t disappearing anytime soon and even with self-driving technology, they will still be in a position to cause crashes, deaths, and injuries on our roads,” said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executive Director. “As autonomous vehicle technology advances, states still must invest in programs to prioritize safe travel behavior.”

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Inattention is the primary concern that the survey finds may occur within autonomous vehicles and human operators, with other behavioral concerns impacting the overall safety of the autonomous/human driving combination.

According to survey findings, consumers currently hold a skeptical view of autonomous vehicles, though some consumers indicated that learning more about autonomous vehicles may sway their opinion on the technology.

“Many people are unconvinced of the safety benefits of AVs and unwilling to share the road or to ride in them,” said Ryan Gammelgard, Counsel at State Farm®. “However, research suggests that public enthusiasm and support will grow as people learn more about AVs (sic) and are able to experience them first-hand, and if there is objective proof that the technology operates better than humans.”

According to the GHSA, the report was compiled with input of experts from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, among other highway-related organizations.

More information on the report may be found at the GHSA website.