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People can quickly get over a fear of autonomous vehicles

The American Automobile Association talked to drivers in the United States, and it found that a full 75 percent said they were still afraid of self-driving vehicles. This fear seems to persist even though these vehicles have been involved in very few accidents in test trials, especially compared to the very high accident rates of human drivers.

Some studies have found, though, that people don't trust the cars just because they've never used them. What they are really afraid of is the unknown.

Thinking that it will take years and perhaps decades for people to put that fear behind them? Try 10 minutes.

That's how long it took for passengers in one study to settle down and feel comfortable when they believed they were in a self-driving vehicle. The study came with a twist: There was actually a human driver. That driver was simply hidden in the vehicle.

Still, the study provided an insight into the way people behaved. They were nervous at first, but it took an average of just five or 10 minutes before they seemed to get over their fears.

This study suggests that the self-driving car revolution could actually happen very quickly. As people are exposed to these vehicles, many of those who said they were afraid of them in the initial study may see their fears subside and consider self-driving cars a safe alternative.

Of course, these cars do raise all sorts of new legal questions when considering potential accidents. Is the driver still at fault? Is the company liable? Are new laws needed? It's important for drivers to know their rights and to keep an eye on the way that technology progresses.

Source: Spectrum, "75% of U.S. Drivers Fear Self-Driving Cars, But It's an Easy Fear to Get Over," Jeremy Hsu, accessed May 11, 2017

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