Daily Impact of Self Driving Cars in the United States

Self driving cars offer great potential savings to the United States economy and public. Assuming self driving cars obey traffic laws, communicate with each other, and the US public fully embraces the capability, we can look at a couple areas of potential savings to understand the impact self driving cars can make.

Everyday in the United States, 42 lives are lost due to incidents involving distracted drivers or drivers under the influence of alcohol.  In both instances, a self-driving vehicle would have prevented these deaths from occurring. Preventing these crashes also saves $576M daily, money spent because of the crashes, including car repairs and medical and legal bills.

As the self-driving vehicle becomes more popular, states will start to lose revenue that was usually obtained from traffic violations.  In Virginia for example, the state received $101 million from issuance of citations.  One might think this revenue went to programs whose costs would have to be covered in other ways. However, Virginia actually uses this money to fund the courts and driver education programs, neither of which will be relevant if the cars are doing the driving.
 
Sitting in traffic caused by congestion can have a major impact on fuel consumption.  Each day 420,000 barrels of fuel is lost due to traffic.  A self-driving vehicle will reduce traffic by reducing the factors that cause traffic (i.e. bottlenecks, traffic incidents, poor signal timing, rubbernecking).  This reduction in traffic congestion can save time and money for drivers.  As the U.S. switches over to self-driving vehicles, states can also start to save money that was spent on traffic signals, which cost around $2.4M a year.  

Daily Savings from Self-Driving Cars

Lives Saved from Crashes Daily 

Costs from Crashes

Revenue Lost from Speeding Tickets

Less Daily Fuel Consumption

No Need for Traffic Signals

42

$576M

$14M

420,000 Barrels (35% reduction)

$6,575