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Self-Driving Cars Will Still Need Limits for Teens, Survey Finds

Most favor restrictions on speed and passengers

TUESDAY, May 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans want the self-driving cars of the future to also have features that limit the behavior of teen drivers, a new survey finds.

The top types of controls favored by 84 percent of respondents include the ability to set a maximum speed, a driver curfew time, and a limit on the number of passengers.

The Carnegie Mellon University survey included 1,000 people between 18 and 70 years old.

For the survey, the researchers described a self-driving car as a vehicle with sensors and computing technology to allow the car to move safely on its own. Self-driving cars would be programmed to move at safe speeds, stay a safe distance from other cars and obey traffic signals. These cars would use GPS technology to get from location to location, the researchers explained.

People surveyed also wanted to see restrictions on the range a teen's car can travel. They'd also like a text display for parents to communicate with teen drivers. These controls were favored by nearly two-thirds of those surveyed.

Women (87 percent) and people aged 66 to 70 (91 percent) were most likely to favor being able to limit a car's speed and the number of passengers, and to set a curfew. Even 81 percent of the youngest respondents (aged 18 to 24) were in favor of such controls.

The ability to limit a car's range was favored by 65 percent of respondents aged 36 to 45, compared with 54 percent of those aged 18 to 24.

Having a parental text display in the car was favored by 69 percent of those aged 18 to 24, but only 53 percent of those aged 56 to 65, the findings showed.

Including parental control features in self-driving cars might help prevent injuries, save lives and reduce crash-related costs, according to the researchers.

In 2013, more than 2,500 teens were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. In terms of miles driven, teens are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than older drivers, the researchers said in a university news release.

Young, inexperienced drivers are more likely to speed and drive too fast for road conditions. Also, teen drivers are more likely to crash when they have friends in the car, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more about teen drivers.

SOURCE: Carnegie Mellon University, news release, May 5, 2015
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