Erie Insurance Conducts a Poll on the Topic of Self-Driving Cars

By: William Forbes

Here at the Forbes Insurance blog, we've been paying attention to the trend of self-driving cars and the industry conversations happening around that topic.

Recently, Erie Insurance commissioned a national survey that asked nearly 3,000 licensed, U.S. drivers what they thought of self-driving cars and how their behavior behind the wheel might change if they owned one. In a blog post on Erie Sense (link here), the company reported on the results.

Not surprisingly, sleeping was a popular answer for what drivers would do with their downtime behind the wheel of a self-driving car. The blog says, "Roughly half of licensed drivers (51 percent) say one of the biggest advantages of self-driving cars would be the ability to go longer distances without worrying about being drowsy while driving."

The next most popular responses were texting, sending emails, and reading. These are also not too surprising. However, the survey did have some humorous responses; including a small percentage of drivers who would, reportedly, use the time for "romantic activities." The survey also asked respondents to come up with a new name for: self-driving car. Among the responses were: "Bad Science car" and "Take your chances car."

Back to more serious subject matter, Erie's blog highlighted an important point with regard to self-driving cars. The article discussed the fact that, at least in early models, self-driving cars still require a human operator to be alert and ready to take over control of the vehicle. Because of this, it will be very interesting to see how the insurance industry handles fault when it comes to accidents in autonomous vehicles.

The blog also touched on a scary topic: drinking and driving. Thirteen percent of respondents to Erie's survey said they believe "you wouldn’t get cited for DUI/DWI if you have a few drinks and then operate a self-driving car." Even though 13 percent may seem small, this stat is surprising and frightening.

For more survey results and information on the poll, check out Erie's full blog post: