AVs will lead to increased drinking – research

It’s probably not one of the most surprising pieces of research into the effects of driverless cars – a study in Australia suggests people expect they will drink more if they don’t have to worry about driving.

Just over 1,300 Australians of legal driving age who consume alcohol completed an online survey for Curtin University. Around half of the respondents (49%) reported being likely to use an AV after consuming alcohol, and over one‐third (37%) reported being likely to consume more alcohol if using an AV afterwards.

They found younger age groups, those with more frequent alcohol consumption, a positive attitude to AVs and a preference for using ride‐share AVs were associated with a greater likelihood of engaging in these behaviours.

They say this suggests introduction of AVs is likely to reduce drink‐driving rates but allow greater participation in heavy drinking, meaning “a challenge to policymakers in their efforts to minimise alcohol‐related harms”.

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