If every motorist in the United States drove an autonomous vehicle, the nation would save more than $306 billion in costs associated with traffic accidents.
That’s the conclusion of Global Positioning Specialists, an Australian provider of online fleet management software. The company recently crunched data from the World Health Organization and other sources and determined that driverless vehicles would cut the costs of traffic accidents by billions of dollars throughout the world.
Global Positioning Specialists combined the percentage of GDP lost to traffic accidents with the total GDP of each country, alongside the percentage that driverless technology could reduce traffic accidents, to calculate both the total GDP lost to traffic accidents each year and the amount of GDP that driverless technology could save.
According to the analysis, the United States would be the biggest beneficiary if the auto industry shifted to autonomous vehicles. The firm estimates that the U.S. GDP takes a $341 billion annual hit from the cost of traffic accidents. If all motorists drove autonomous vehicles, that number would be reduced to approximately $34.1 billion.
While the United States takes the biggest GDP hit from traffic accidents, South Africa has the highest percentage of GDP lost to traffic accidents in the world at nearly 8 percent. However, because of a much lower GDP, South Africa ranked 13th on the list of nations in the analysis. A shift to driverless technology would reduce South Africa’s lost GDP by more than $21 billion.
Autonomous vehicles could save the United Kingdom and Australia more $25 billion each, according to the analysis.
“This research has two facets to it: On the one hand there is the amount of money that we spend on accidents each year, which in itself is interesting,” said Lucile Michaut, head of Global Positioning Specialists. “Then you realize how many of these accidents could be avoided with new driverless technology. Governments will never spend on investing in things like this unless there is concrete evidence, but here we have proved there are strong economic reasons to invest in driverless technology, as well as the obvious improvement to public safety.”