PAVE Launch Press Conference at CES, Las Vegas

January 07, 2019 | Las Vegas, NV

Debbie A.P. Hersman

Deborah A.P. Hersman is the former president and CEO of the National Safety Council. She is currently the Chief Safety Officer at Waymo.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us for history in the making.

I am Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit with a century-long legacy in eliminating preventable deaths at work, at home and on the road.

For decades, the National Safety Council has been a leader in driver training. We’ve worked with industry to educate the public about seatbelts and airbags, and for the last two years we have chaired the Road to Zero Coalition.

But we envision a future where roadway fatalities are the exception, not the norm. So we’ve come together with a powerful coalition to shift the status quo, and address three key questions regarding automated vehicles and their potential.

Why now, why it matters, and why we believe it will make a difference.

So why now: This is a pivotal moment in the history of transportation safety.

More than 40,000 die on U.S. roads every year. We’ve come to expect one hundred percent safe operations in aviation and in the pipelines that run under our communities. But our complacency on the roads in killing us.

Many industries have created seismic shifts in how they approach safety – by embracing promising technology, sharing data and working together.

Today, we are launching Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, a coalition of traditional automakers, technology companies, mobility advocates and other safety stakeholders.

The mission of PAVE is to help Americans better understand the potential and promise of these often misunderstood technologies.

I want to thank Audi, our founding partner, and the dozens of other organizations who have joined us.

Now, let’s talk about why this mission matters:

Automated vehicle technology represents our best hope for enhanced mobility, improved sustainability, and above all, safety.

But first, policymakers and the public must be informed about the real benefits and limitations of automated vehicles.

We are encouraged by the technology already on the roads, and the major investment in research, development and testing. But we need a corollary commitment to help the public understand and embrace potentially life-saving technology.

Here is why we will make a difference:

PAVE will help counter the confusion around automated vehicles. We will provide clear and factual information so consumers understand this technology and what to expect.

Public trust will be crucial.

By engaging policymakers and consumers, and conducting public demonstrations, PAVE will help the public recognize and participate in our shared transportation future.

We are on the brink of the next generation of transportation: creating not just a safer car, but a safer driver.

We are proud to partner with everyone here today.

And I’m excited to continue to work with PAVE as I move on to Waymo as a committed member of this coalition.

Today you will hear from many leaders at this podium, but as you know the real work gets done behind the scenes. I want to thank two people who made this happen – Brad Stertz from Audi and Kelly Nantel of NSC – they started this project and helped bring everyone together.

Thank you.

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