Poll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars

Poll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars
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Nearly eight in 10 people in a handful of key states are concerned about the safety of driverless cars, according to a poll released by an advocacy group on Tuesday.

Consumer Watchdog released a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) showing doubts about driverless cars in California, Florida, Michigan and South Dakota.

The group said it selected those states because they are home to key senators from both parties who are involved in current debate over driverless car legislation, including Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneNew push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road Trump's border funding comes back from the dead Public policy expert: US has become 'outlier' on immigration practices MORE (R-S.D.) and ranking member Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHow Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment MORE (D-Fla.).

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The vast majority of respondents, 79 percent, said they were either "very concerned" or "somewhat" concerned about the safety of driverless cars. Another 14 percent said they were “a little concerned.”

The poll also found that 79 percent of respondents were concerned about the security data driverless cars collected. And 75 percent said Congress should hold off on passing legislation that would allow more driverless cars until the technology becomes safer.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNew push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community Trump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community MORE (D-Calif.) was one of several senators who in March sent a letter to Thune and Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersNew push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping MORE (D-Mich.) expressing concerns over the upper chamber's driverless car bill, which remains stuck in the Senate after receiving approval from the Senate Commerce Committee last year.

That legislation aims to speed up the development and testing of autonomous vehicles.

Some estimates say the world will have about 10 million driverless vehicles by 2020, yet 54 percent of Americans said they are unlikely to use such vehicles, according to Gallup.

Recent highly publicized crashes involving self-driving cars have also been blamed for causing a dip in consumer trust for autonomous vehicles.

Seventy-three percent of American drivers polled said they would be too afraid to ride a self-driving vehicle, up from 63 percent in late 2017, according to a separate poll from AAA released Tuesday.

In March, a self-driving car operated by Uber — which had a person behind the wheel — fatally struck a woman in Arizona, marking the first pedestrian death associated with autonomous vehicles.

A few weeks later, a Tesla vehicle being driven on autopilot crashed and caught fire, killing the driver.

The PPP survey of 2,374 voters was conducted May 15-16 via automated telephone interviews and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

– Mallory Shelbourne contributed to this report, which was updated at 6:30 p.m.