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Drivers must not become over-reliant on technology, says IAM RoadSmart

House of Lords report encourages behavioural research

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has echoed a recent House of Lords report in expressing concern that cars with growing levels of autonomy could make drivers over-reliant on gadgets.

In a recent report on connected and autonomous vehicles, The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee concluded: “Autonomous cars could have negative implications for drivers' competence, making drivers complacent and overly reliant on technology. This is of particular concern in emergency situations, where a driver may react slowly to taking back control of a vehicle.

“The Government should give priority to commissioning and encouraging research studying behavioural questions and ensure it is an integral part of any trials it funds.”

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IAM RoadSmart backed these sentiments and also pointed to the possibility that a vehicle could be hacked as being another area of concern.

A survey carried out by the organisation last year asked whether respondents agreed with amending Highway Code rule 150, ‘do not rely on driver assistance systems’.  55 per cent of respondents said no, compared to 35 per cent who said yes.

The research also found that 74 per cent of drivers thought insurers should provide cover for damage caused by hackers accessing control systems in driverless cars.

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Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said:

“When it comes to driverless cars, IAM RoadSmart members are not keen to give up full control and are also very concerned about hacking, so we welcome the House of Lords Technology Committee’s view that cyber security is an important issue.

“The implications for future driver competence and training as we become more reliant on technology are still far from clear, and it is vital that the government supports the committee’s call for further research in this area.

“IAM RoadSmart is already responding to this call by providing research grants and organising a conference in October on how we safely manage the transition to autonomous cars.”

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