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A recent study by the independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has found that 60 per cent of motorists consider the growing rate of self-driving cars to be a serious threat to road safety.

It also revealed that concern was higher among female drivers and road users over the age of 70. This comes despite evidence that the main cause of most incidents on the road is human error.

While giving greater control to the technology within automated vehicles could reduce accidents, the charity believes that this will only be the case if drivers are trained to use new systems correctly.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research, said: “Autonomous and automated vehicle technology is becoming an integral part of everyday motoring and while it does have the capacity to improve road safety, its capabilities must be fully understood to ensure we don’t over-rely on them.

‘Over-reliance on these systems, and a lack of training on how to use them, could have a negative effect, with potentially worrying results for motorists and pedestrians alike”.

If government projections are correct, around 40 per cent of new car sales in the UK could have self-driving features in less than 15 years. Many claim this will benefit the economy financially and through the creation of more jobs.

“As an ever-increasing number of vehicle systems take on the tasks that drivers used to perform, IAM RoadSmart is calling for an understanding of automated features to be included in the UK driving test”, Greig added. 

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