Auto Safety Technology Regulations to be Pushed by Government

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a series of steps designed to speed up the process of incorporating vehicle-to-vehicle communication mandates for the auto industry by the end this year, which officials claim could prevent hundreds of thousands of accidents each year. 

In a press release issued on May 13, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that he is calling for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to move ahead of its public time table for the current proposal to require vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication devices in new vehicles.

The original proposal for this technology to be mandated in new vehicles was planned for review by the end of 2016. However, the Secretary’s accelerated goals could have the proposal ready for review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by the end of 2015.

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According to a DOT study earlier this year, titled “Beyond Traffic,” the agency is anticipating a rapidly growing population, demographic and migratory shift, and increased freight volume over the next three decades calling for more safety regulations to prevent accidents. Secretary Foxx states that the nation’s next step is to move toward an era when vehicle safety isn’t just about surviving crashes, but about avoiding them.

The primary goal of accelerating the NHTSA’s time table is to have vehicle-to-vehicle (v2v) and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications available in new model cars and trucks as soon as possible. This technology would automatically send wireless signals between vehicles and infrastructure to alert cars of possible collisions and traffic problems by signaling the driver to pass safely or to turn off the road.

Foxx announced in 2014 that the technology would eventually progress to the point that drivers could talk to one another, allowing drivers to communicate maneuvers on roadways. Foxx claims this technology could one day help reduce up to 80% of car accident deaths and prevent nearly 600,000 left-turn and intersection crashes that kill an average of 1,100 drivers annually.

Accelerating V2V Development

DOT is accelerating their efforts to have this technology available for review by the end of 2015 by working closely with technology labs and the auto industry to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the V2V communications technology. Secretary Foxx visited Delphi Labs research facility in Silicon Valley on Wednesday to review current progress and express his eagerness to move the time table forward.

The Federal Communication Commission and members of Congress have increased their efforts in reserving a radio spectrum in which the V2V communications could be shared. Officials have expressed that they are committing to complete a preliminary test plan within 12 months after the industry makes production-ready devices available for testing.

According to the DOT’s reports, the auto industry has been accepting of the V2V communication technologies in new vehicles. General Motors even announced in 2014 that it would offer V2V communication technologies in the new 2017 Cadillac CTS models that will go on sale late next year.

Last year, the Association of Global Automakers representing Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., and other large scale foreign automakers said the bill is putting at risk the opportunity to save thousands of lives and that the benefits of V2V communications are within reach but an ill-informed decision on this spectrum is a gamble.


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