Americans Remain Resistant to Self-Driving Cars

Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters say they would not feel safe riding in a self-driving car, according to a new national survey by And of those 73% who say they don’t feel safe now, only 34% say they are very or even somewhat likely to feel safe in the next 5-10 years (see question wording and crosstab results).

The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted October 7-8, 2018 by and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Resistance to self-driving cars may have increased slightly over the last few months. In August, 69% of respondents said they wouldn’t feel safe in such a vehicle.

Similarly, the number of voters who say they are very unlikely to have a self-driving car as their primary vehicle grew to 42% this month compared to 36% in August.

Still, a majority of voters (58%) believe most cars on the road will be self-driving within 20 years.

The automotive industry is racing to invest more in self-driving car technology. Earlier this month, Honda announced it will invest $750 million in General Motors’ autonomous car unit with an additional $2 billion coming over the next 12 years. Additionally, some market experts believe the total market value of the self-driving car industry and its supporting industries will top $7 trillion by 2050.

Much of the pushback on self-driving cars could be the result of some well-publicized accidents involving the vehicles over the past two years. The first death from an accident involving an entirely autonomous self-driving vehicle in the United States took place in March of this year. Another source of resistance may also stem from the fact that 64% of voters enjoy driving.

Driving is a way of life for a large majority of the country, with about 222 million licensed drivers and 263 million registered vehicles in the U.S. according to the latest data reported.

Two years ago, I described my first ride in a self-driving car : “The anticipation for me was a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas. But when I shared my enthusiasm with friends and colleagues, many thought I was crazy.” I remain an enthusiastic backer of the technology and expect my next car to be as autonomous as possible. It remains a mystery to me why so many people are reluctant to embrace this next step forward in automotive technology.

But, my job is to report public opinion, not my own perspective. The mission of is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). We release new polling data four to eight times each day. Sign up HERE to receive the latest numbers in our daily email update. You can also follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).


Posted in Poll Results

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