Self-driving cars a concern for some

Some worry about safety

In this May 13, 2014 photo, a Google self-driving car goes on a test drive near the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers are hearing that they won’t have to wait long for “hands free” driving; with computers doing the bulk of the work behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that the first self-driving cars will appear on western Massachusetts roads in about five years. General Motors said it will have the technology in two years

The prospect frightens Angel Bermudez, the operations manager at United Tractor Trailer School in Chicopee.

“It’s scary, scary they (drivers) are wrapped up in their own little worlds today,” Bermudez said. “I’ve seen people reading papers, talking on the phone; not paying attention to what they’re doing.”

Bermudez favors more defensive driving training, instead of giving people behind the wheel less reason to pay attention.

Easthampton truck driver Jeremy Demers told 22News that he’s also skeptical about the safety  of cars on the road depending on computers instead of alert drivers.

“I can never see it happening. I think it would be less controlling. This would be very shaky and I can’t see that happening,” Demers said.

Highway traffic safety experts are saying that carmakers will have to spend billions of dollars to pay for systems to make self-driving cars safe.

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