PCI Hosts Briefing on Automated Vehicles and Highway Safety Issues

WASHINGTON – The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) today hosted a policy briefing entitled “An New Era of Highway Safety” on Capitol Hill to discuss the future of autonomous vehicles and highway safety issues. The panelists included leading experts from the insurance industry, advocacy organizations.

The event was the third installment in PCI’s 2016 Capital Engagement Series. Jessica Hanna, PCI’s senior vice president, public affairs moderated the panel of experts including Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS); Jackie Gillan, president at the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; Rob Molloy, director of the office of highway safety at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); and Jane Terry, director of government affairs at the National Safety Council (NSC).

“PCI is pleased to partner with our panelists to discuss auto safety measures to save lives,” said Hanna. “While it is important to prepare for the automated vehicle of the future, we must not lose sight of the auto safety challenges that face us today. There is a fundamental mismatch between the public perceptions that auto accidents and insurance costs are decreasing with the stark reality that our roads are becoming increasingly dangerous and auto repair and medical costs are increasing. Someday in the future, self-driving cars may reduce the number of accidents and deaths. However, this stands in sharp contrast with what is happening on our roads today.”

“Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking cuts rear-end crashes in half. If every U.S. vehicle had this system in 2014, nearly 1 million crashes would have been prevented. The real-world effectiveness of lane departure warning is less clear,” said Cicchino.

“The new era of highway safety presents us with many challenges as well as opportunities. Never before has there been such promise and potential to attack a major public health epidemic that kills over 35,000 and injures 2 million more annually. The availability of lifesaving technologies that prevent crashes as well as activity in state legislatures to pass safety laws that protect families are critically important solutions. We look forward to working with our partners in the insurance industry, in government and in the public health and safety community to achieve significant reductions in motor vehicle crashes,” said Gillan.

“We are experiencing a sea change in highway safety; a movement from reducing highway fatalities through innovative occupant protection systems to using innovative technologies to prevent crashing in the first place,” said Molloy.

“Technology has contributed to the increase in car crashes, and technology can provide a solution. Our cars today are being built not just to withstand the impact of a crash, but to prevent the crash altogether. The key is helping drivers understand how to use new technologies to their advantage, because many of these systems can be life-saving,” said Terry.

PCI’s Capital Engagement Series is a series of briefings and policy discussions that bring together thought leaders and experts to discuss the importance of property casualty insurance and the current issues impacting the industry. Earlier this year, PCI Capital Engagement Series held policy discussions on the need to defend U.S. insurance consumers and markets and to mitigate against and prepare for natural disasters.

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PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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While it is important to prepare for the automated vehicle of the future, we must not lose sight of the auto safety challenges that face us today. There is a fundamental mismatch between the public perceptions that auto accidents and insurance costs are decreasing with the stark reality that our roads are becoming increasingly dangerous and auto repair and medical costs are increasing.
Jessica Hanna