Securing America's Future Energy

Third Straight Year of U.S. Traffic Deaths Exceeding 40,000 Highlights Need for Accelerated Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles and Safety Technologies

Contact: Alex Adams| 202.461.2374 |

Washington, D.C.—In response to preliminary figures from the National Safety Council that show annual motor-vehicle deaths to have topped 40,000 for the third year in a row, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) reiterated the need for policymakers to expedite the deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to curb this trend.

“A death toll of over 40,000 for three straight years is unacceptable, especially given the suite of driver-assist and crash-avoidance technologies we have available right now. If we employed all those technologies today, we could save approximately 9,900 lives every year,” said SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond. “The death toll on our roads has reached epidemic proportions and as 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error, autonomous vehicles are the vaccine. It is vital we perfect and deploy this vaccine as soon as possible, because every day we delay is another day that lives are needlessly lost.”

Research from Boston Consulting Group has concluded that 28 percent of all crashes in the U.S. could be prevented if all cars were equipped with the advanced driver assist technologies available today. As a result, these technologies could prevent approximately 9,900 fatalities and save about $251 billion to society every year.

In early 2017, 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 AVs.

In addition to the safety benefits, AVs 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 analysis shows that approximately 80 percent of AV models employ an alternative powertrain, providing further evidence of a natural link between AVs and fuel choice. Additionally, the deployment of existing driver-assist and connected vehicle technologies could result in system-wide fuel economy savings of up to 18–25 percent.


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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