2019 NHTSA Traffic Fatality Statistics Show Urgent Need For Autonomous Vehicle And Driver-Assist Technology Deployment

Washington, D.C.—In response to figures published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that show 2019 road traffic fatalities falling to 36,096—a 2 percent fall from 36,835 in 2018—SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:

“This small reduction is positive but considerably inadequate. There were still more than 36,000 deaths on U.S. roads last year. The death toll on American roads remains at epidemic levels. That’s simply unacceptable, given the suite of driver-assist and crash-avoidance technologies we have available right now to save lives.”

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. SAFE also found the United States could save $500 billion annually, through accident reduction alone, with the widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

“As 94 percent of vehicle crashes are due to human error, it remains imperative that we expedite the deployment of driver-assist technologies and, ultimately, the deployment of autonomous vehicles as they drive neither drunk nor distracted. From expanding exemptions for driverless testing to passing federal AV legislation, it is critical we accelerate the responsible deployment of these life-saving technologies,” Diamond added.

In SAFE’s recent Commanding Heights Of Global Transportation report, SAFE advocates for an expedited deployment of AVs by expanding exemptions from 2,500 to 100,000 per manufacturer as long as they are as safe as current vehicles, and pathway for regulatory reform and certainty at the federal level.

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.

Contact: Alex Adams | 202.461.2374 | aadams@secureenergy.org

About SAFE

SAFE enhances the nation’s energy security and supports our economic resurgence and resiliency, by advancing transformative transportation and mobility technologies and ensuring that the United States secures key aspects of the technology supply chain to achieve and maintain our strategic advantage.

In partnership with the Electrification Coalition, SAFE’s sister organization, we work with consumers, businesses, and policymakers, to launch award-winning “real-world” programs and enable the needed polices to accelerate transportation electrification around the country to reduce our Nation’s dependence on oil.