“Safety Pilot” Program Making Steps Toward Reducing Car Accidents

There are many new and interesting technologies being developed to reduce the number of car accidents on U.S. roads. Advancements include dashboard gadgets which aim to combat distracted driving habits and sensors which help drivers parallel park. For the last year or so, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has been in the testing stages of its Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot program, which, when fully implemented, could drastically reduce car accident rates.

What is the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot program?

This new endeavor by the DOT helps to prevent accidents by connecting vehicles wirelessly. Essentially, your car becomes like a cell phone or laptop computer possessing the ability to communicate with other devices. Your car becomes “aware” of other vehicles, as well as traffic lights and road work areas, sending and receiving information which will help drivers to avoid traffic-related complications.

On a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) level, your car can communicate anonymously with other vehicles, offering important information such as speed, position, and (within reason) location. Using this and more information, your car can calculate risk and warn you of potential threats to your safety. The efficacy of this technology is still being determined; however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posits that, once it V2V becomes reliable, it could “address 80 percent of unimpaired driver crashes.”

Testing Stages

At the moment, the program is still being tested on a voluntary basis. As of August 21, the NHTSA reports that about three thousand automobiles in Ann Arbor, Michigan have been equipped with V2V technology and entered into normal traffic flow to be monitored for a time. Volunteer drivers and Safety Pilot workers will study the interactions of these vehicles to determine how safe the technology is and what kinks need to be worked out.

One of the big points of interest during this V2V trial stage is to see how well drivers respond to warnings. Does the an alert by the Safety Pilot device provide drivers with the proper information and time needed to avoid an accident in an blind intersection? Does it properly warn of potential rear-end accidents or lane changing accidents? The Ann Arbor group will help to determine all of this.

We are living in a time of impressive automotive innovations, and the pilot safety program is only one of the many useful functions being developed for general use. If you liked this write-up, see some similar articles on the Carpey Law website. Our articles “New Technology Puts First Responders At Risk” and “New Technology Hopes to Quash Distracted Driving” may be of interest to you.