Washington, D.C.—In response to the release of preliminary National Safety Council (NSC) figures that show motor-vehicle deaths in 2016 increased to the highest level in almost a decade, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) reiterated the need for policymakers to expedite the deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to curb this trend.
“Some 94 percent of car crashes are caused by human error, which have now risen to 40,200 deaths every year. Autonomous vehicles are effectively a vaccine that will cure deaths on American roadways—and we must perfect and deploy this vaccine as soon as possible. Every day that we delay is a day that human lives are needlessly lost,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE.
The NSC figures mark 2016 as the first time since 2007 that the annual fatality total has exceeded 40,000. The significant safety benefits provided by AV technology would not only dramatically reduce this fatality rate, but also cut the costs associated with all traffic accidents—estimated by the NSC to have risen 12 percent in 2016 to $432.5 billion.
Earlier this year, SAFE convened a group of safety experts to create the Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety, which released a suite of recommendations designed to enable industry to lead on the safe and rapid deployment of autonomous vehicles.
In addition to the safety benefits, autonomous vehicles are expected to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil, which currently powers 92 percent of our transportation system, and is supplied and controlled by countries that do not share U.S. strategic interests. SAFE’s most recent analysis shows that approximately 80 percent of autonomous vehicle models employ an alternative powertrain, providing further evidence of a natural link between AVs and fuel choice.
About Securing America’s Future Energy
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
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