New wireless technology enables communication between vehicles that has the potential to improve safety and to help drivers avoid car accidents. At a recent research clinic hosted by the Department of Transportation at Walt Disney World® SPEEDWAY in Orlando last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “Thanks to the efforts of automakers and the safety community traffic fatalities have reached historic lows. Despite these great strides though, more than 32,000 people are still killed on our nation’s roads every year. That’s why we must remain vigilant in our effort to improve safety…This research should bring us a step closer to what could be the next major safety breakthrough.”
Research by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that connected vehicle technology could potentially decrease approximately 80 percent of vehicle crashes involving non-impaired drivers. The research shows that such technology could help to prevent many types of crashes that typically occur in the real world such as crashes at intersections or during lanes changes.
The “Driver Acceptance Clinic” is one of many that will eventually be held across the nation in order to evaluate cars equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems in a controlled environment where researchers can observe drivers’ responses to audible warnings. The in-car collision warnings for the drivers include messages such as “do not pass”, alerts that a vehicle has suddenly stopped ahead, and other similar safety warnings.
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “With its potential to save lives and prevent injuries, connected vehicle technology could be a real game-changer for vehicle safety…These clinics are vital to understanding how drivers will respond to the technology and how connected vehicles communicate in real world scenarios.”
These driver clinics are the first of a two-phased research program jointly developed by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Research, the Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Driver response clinics have already been held in Michigan and Minnesota. Future clinics are planned for Virginia, California, and Texas before January 2012. Following the driver clinic programs, the Department of Transportation will launch 3,000 vehicles with communication technology to continue testing from the summer of 2012 through the summer of 2013. These vehicles will operate on roads in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and will test a limited number of vehicle-to-infrastructure applications in addition to continuing the research on vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.
The information collected from both phases of the research will be used by NHTSA to determine by 2013 whether to continue with additional vehicle-to-vehicle communications and to determine possible future laws.
Although this is an important step for the future, car accidents still happen today. If you have been involved in a Massachusetts car accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced a Massachusetts car accident lawyer.
U.S. Department of Transportation Hosts Research Clinic to Test ‘Connected Vehicle Technology’ , NHTSA Press Release, October 19, 2011
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If you have been in a car accident, an experienced Massachusetts accident lawyer can advise you.