Recognizing the terrible toll of road crashes in the U.S. — which account for at least 36,000 deaths, 2.5 million injuries, and $800 billion in direct and indirect economic costs per year — Consumer Reports analyzed the expected fatality reduction benefits of existing safety technologies if they were equipped on the entire fleet of motor vehicles in the United States. CR researchers concluded that existing motor vehicle safety technology would save 16,800-20,500 lives per year if equipped across the full U.S. light-duty motor vehicle fleet. This totals approximately one-half of the 36,560 lives lost on U.S. roads in 2018.
While automated vehicles (AVs) offer enormous potential to improve safety and mobility, there is not sufficient evidence to support claims that AVs are proven to save people’s lives on U.S. roads. Previous legislative proposals, including the SELF DRIVE Act and AV START Act considered by Congress in 2017-2018, would not have established meaningful requirements for AVs to provide greater occupant protection and crash avoidance capabilities, and required only that they provide a level of safety the same as the average human-driven car on the road.