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Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology Gets Safety Test

Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication devices are two methods by which cars may be made safer in the future. The U.S. Transportation Department has begun a new test of so-called "smart car" technology. Some 3,000 cars, trucks and buses equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance technology and vehicle-to-roadway devices will be evaluated to determine the efficacy and reliability of these devices. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland, this form of technology has the potential to "significantly reduce" traffic deaths and injuries, and help accidents from occurring in the first place.

The devices involved offer drivers a number of aids in the effort to prevent car crashes. Crash avoidance technologies include forward collision warnings that tell a driver when a vehicle ahead has stopped. Drivers may also receive "do not pass" alerts informing them when another car is coming or when a vehicle is currently in the driver's blind spot. Communication devices could also tell a driver when he or she was pulling onto a busy street. Devices that allow drivers to avoid congested areas can prevent accidents and save money on the amount of new construction necessary to accommodate area traffic.

The NHTSA has estimated that the technology could eventually be capable of reducing motor vehicle accidents by up to 75 percent. Such a reduction would save thousands of lives and billions of dollars every year. The study is the largest study of vehicle-to-vehicle technology to date and will be the first to review several new advancements in the field.

According to NHTSA numbers, approximately 30,000 people died in fatal car and truck accidents every year. Vehicle-to-vehicle technology could help reduce that number dramatically.

Source: The Detroit News, "Smart cars to be put to test in Ann Arbor," by David Shepardson, 21 August 2012

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