NHTSA Seeks to Make Car Accident-Reducing Technology More Available
The NHTSA has announced it will be taking steps to make vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication) technology widely available to consumers sooner. V2V communication technology enables vehicles of all types, including cars, busses, trucks, and trains, to relay important information to each other, which could potentially help to prevent car accidents from happening.
V2V communication uses short-range radio technology to convey information such as a car’s speed and braking status with other vehicles nearby. With this information, cars can alert drivers to potentially dangerous situations they might not be aware of. For example, if a driver attempts to change lanes while another car is in its blind spot, V2V technology can warn the driver it isn’t safe to change lanes. Drivers can also be warned if it isn’t safe to make a left-hand turn, when a car ahead of them comes to a sudden stop, or if it isn’t safe to pass a slow-moving vehicle because there is another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. V2V communication does not transmit any personal information about driver or passengers; all information is kept anonymous.
Based on preliminary testing, the NHTSA estimates that if all vehicles were equipped with V2V communication technology, it could prevent 400,000-600,000 car accidents, 190,000-270,000 injuries, and save 780-1,080 lives every year. And that’s only looking at the numbers of V2V communication being used to prevent accidents involving making left-hand turns and accidents at intersections. If V2V were used for more applications and combined with vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) applications, it’s estimated it would help prevent or reduce the severity of up to 80% of car accidents that aren’t related to alcohol. The benefits of V2V communication technology could be even greater if paired with other types of existing safety equipment involving cameras or radar.
In August 2014, the NHTSA announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) about implementing V2V communication technology in new vehicles, but to make this potentially lifesaving technology more widely available to consumers faster, the NHTSA has announced it will speed up its schedule to make V2V communication technology mandatory in all new vehicles and develop an expedited plan to test for interference with other radio signals.
Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary, said, “The Department wants to speed the nation toward an era when vehicle safety isn’t just about surviving crashes; it’s about avoiding them. Connected, automated vehicles that can sense the environment around them and communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure have the potential to revolutionize road safety and save thousands of lives.”
The NHTSA estimates the costs of equipping vehicles with V2V equipment and other related functions would be approximately $341-$350 per vehicle in the year 2020, is expected to drop to $209-$235 per vehicle by the year 2058.