The National Transportation Safety Board proposed all U.S. cars, trucks and buses be installed with technology that would allow their vehicles to communicate with one another. Sounds pretty cool, right? It is going to be tough, though. First, vehicle component systems will have to be overhauled. To add to that, state and federal laws will have to be reviewed and amended when necessary. Also, legal questions about liabilities in case vehicles on automated systems get involved in accidents will have to be cleared.
The good side of it
NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman sees huge potential in the technology as a means to protecting lives and preventing injuries. Similar sentiment was expressed by NHTSA Administrator David Strickland after conducting a yearlong study involving 3,000 connected vehicles in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The test focused on safety at intersections, lane changes and rear-end accidents involving vehicles stopped at intersections. Strickland said, "Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety (with a little disclaimer though) but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world."
Looking into other angles
Aside from rolling out the vehicle-to-vehicle technology, other issues were raised during the board meeting. These issues included:
- Parents to educate kids on the importance of wearing seat belts. NHTSA recommended school districts to provide training to bus drivers, students and even parents to emphasize the importance of wearing seat belts, especially in the six states that require them - California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Texas and New Jersey.
- Agencies to be more stringent when issuing medical certification to drivers.
- Ensuring vehicles are in good condition before being launched into the streets. It's important to make sure the technology has been properly tested before it is test driven on public roads.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I appreciate NTSB’s intention to make roads safer for all motorists, especially for our children. Whether the V2V technology pushes through or not, it’s worth pointing out that discipline is still the most crucial factor in reaping success in large-scale efforts like this. While V2V technology would make it easier on us as drivers, we still need to pay attention to the road and practice safe driving habits.