Investigating the impacts of autonomous vehicles on crash severity and traffic safety

Deema Almaskati, Sharareh Kermanshachi, Apurva Pamidimukkala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Traffic accidents are a nationwide public health concern, but autonomous vehicles (AVs) have the potential to significantly reduce accident severity and frequency by eliminating their most common cause, human error. By analyzing the data published by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, researchers have identified the factors that influence AV crash severity, however, none do so through a literature review. This paper’s aims are multi-faceted: to understand AVs’ operation on public roadways by identifying and classifying the factors contributing to accident severity, to develop a list of strategies that address the public’s safety concerns, and to acknowledge the ethics of unavoidable collisions. To fulfill these objectives, a comprehensive literature review was conducted based on a keyword search. Following a multi-step screening and exclusion process, detailed review was performed of 107 relevant publications, and the factors contributing to increased crash severity were classified into 14 categories. The literature revealed that AVs are not at fault in most accidents, although they have a higher propensity than conventional cars to be involved in rear-end collisions, and they are specifically designed to minimize the number of accidents, but may face unavoidable ones. For the benefit of policymakers and manufacturers, 11 strategies that address the moral dilemma of these accidents and 7 strategies that address concerns about AV safety to improve public perception were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1383144
JournalFrontiers in Built Environment
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies

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