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Ready for driverless cars?

Clarence Page | 8/23/2018, 6 a.m.
Shortly after the first automobile arrived in the small but grandly named village of Ohio City, Ohio, an old story ...

The public is with them on that, according to a new poll released recently by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a 29-year-old alliance of safety, consumer, public health and insurance organizations. It found that 69 percent of Americans said they were “concerned” about their safety when sharing the road with driverless vehicles as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

And an even larger majority of Americans, 84 percent, support the organization’s push to delay acting on driverless car legislation until the National Transportation Safety Board can complete its investigations of at least seven crashes, including four fatalities, and other failures that already have occurred with self-driving vehicles in the past three years.

They include a May 8 accident in which two teenagers died in the fire that resulted from the crash of a Tesla Model S into a wall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Another driver died on March 23 in a Tesla Model X that struck a safety barrier in Mountain View, Calif. On March 18, an Uber test vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian walking a bicycle in Tempe, Ariz.

We’ve come a long way since James Lambert’s horseless carriage hit that tree root. But if we’re still a long way from seeing fleets of safe driver-free cars on the road, I can wait.