The safe and equitable road forward on autonomous vehicles starts with proven technologies to save lives

In the history of the U.S., economic downturns and less traffic generally have been associated with fewer fatalities. Not so in 2020 — even though one would think people would drive cautiously to avoid crashing and landing in an emergency room risking exposure to COVID-19. In fact, the crash fatality rate was up 23 percent during the first nine months, compared to 2019. This spike has revived conversations about fast-tracking autonomous vehicles (AVs). However, putting nascent, unproven AVs on public roadways will further complicate roadway conditions and lead to even more danger for all road users.