“Long thought to be less interested in vehicle ownership and driving, 81 percent of millennial drivers taking part in the nationwide survey said they like, love or are passionate about driving,” according to a nationwide survey commissioned by Hagerty, the insurance and vehicle valuation company.
That same survey found that only 78 percent of Gen Xers and 79 percent of Baby Boomers said they liked, loved or were passionate about driving.
It’s clear people don’t want to lose the joy, freedom and control that comes with having their hands on the wheel.”
In its news release, Hagerty said the results of its survey contradict millennials’ automotive interests. In fact, the survey found that while only 57 percent of all drivers believe a movement will be needed to preserve the driving experience when autonomous cars become commonplace, 64 percent of millennials see the need for such a movement.
“Full autonomy is going to save lives, make commuting easier and unclog cities,” McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of the family owned company, said in the news release. “But these survey results also indicate that people, including millennials, are always going to want to drive themselves when they want to.
“It’s clear people don’t want to lose the joy, freedom and control that comes with having their hands on the wheel.”
Hagerty commissioned the survey — “Why Driving Matters” — in response to the rapid rise of autonomous vehicle technology.
Hagerty said the survey questioned a thousand U.S. drivers 18 years and older. Of those drivers, 35 percent were millennials, 26 percent were part of Generation X, 31 percent were boomers and 8 percent were from the World War II generation. The company said the margin of error for the survey, conducted this spring, was +/- 3.1 percent.
Among the survey findings:
• 85 percent of all respondents said driving is an important part of American culture.
• 81 percent said learning to drive is a rite of passage worth preservation.
• 70 percent said driving is “time for myself.”
• 71 percent said driving often is fun and 61 percent said it often is a positive emotional experience, while 59 percent said driving is a form of stress release.
• 77 percent agreed they’d rather be driving themselves on open, winding roads.
Regarding autonomous vehicles, more than 85 percent of all respondents said they want the option of driving a car themselves and 79 percent said they were not willing to see that option unavailable in autonomous vehicles.
The survey also found that 66 percent don’t think automation has to threaten the benefits to driving.
Based on the survey results, Hagerty said it is launching a “Why Driving Matters” initiative “to organize and amplify the voices of car lovers when it comes to future driving laws.”
“The idea of actually exploring, actually driving, actually seeing different spaces, it’s the way I grew up and it’s something I fear being lost,”
“One of our goals will be to work with policymakers so that years or even decades from now when the bulk of cars are fully autonomous, the act of driving is protected,” Hagerty said.
“We also want to facilitate the discussion about what driving looks like in the future – will driving someday be mostly a suburban activity? Will there be driving parks or experience centers? Will cars that drive themselves increase interest in the analog experience of driving yourself at times? We suspect so, but now’s the time to have those conversations.”
Hagerty plans to host a series of town hall meetings to engage the public and the media in a dialogue about driving. Dates and loations are to be announced in July.
“The idea of actually exploring, actually driving, actually seeing different spaces, it’s the way I grew up and it’s something I fear being lost,” McKeel Hagerty said at such a meeting in Los Angeles.
“(Technology makes) it easy to connect with people all across the world, but are we really seeing the spaces around us? I’m not so sure anymore. One of the things I love about being in a car and especially driving one myself is I’m somehow taking command.”