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V2V Communication: Just Another Distraction?

Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on Aug 01, 2014 in Auto Accidents

V2V Communication Edwards Law Firm

Have you ever wished you could ask the driver in front of you if they could kindly speed up? Maybe you've thought how helpful it would if the cars to your rear knew there was an obstruction on the road, which you just passed. Communication between drivers in separate vehicles has never been an option for society, but that is all about to change.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed its plans to pursue vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, which it claims will improve safety by allowing vehicles to talk to one another while on the road. The feature, as proposed, will utilize crash prevention technology so drivers can get a broader view of safety threats on the road, such as a potential auto accident. The DOT also says this technology can help drivers save fuel and time.

It appears the future of highway travel is here.

But new technology is never without its risks, especially where the safety of human life is concerned. While the idea of communicating between vehicles has its benefits, the two earlier examples take on a different tilt if technology fails. Imagine two drivers are vying for a single spot in a lane: How helpful does this communication become if it is ineffective? Like any technology that has the potential to benefit society, there always exists a chance it will fail in situations when its needed the most.

"Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we've already seen with safety belts and air bags," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in an NHTSA press release.

While this may be true, how many software improvements will it take before all of the kinks are worked out of the system? Will drivers become too dependent on the information they're given from the software and pay less attention to the road? How much of a distraction will gathering information from the software become for motorists?

In driver clinics conducted by the DOT, V2V technology showed high ratings for favor-ability and consumer acceptance. Of course, if the public is told their vehicle can be fitted with a device to help save their life, the response will surely be positive.

At this point, the DOT is still working with other agencies to develop the V2V software, and it is not known when, if ever, it will be approved for operability in all vehicles. The DOT also notes that the information sent between vehicles will not contain any personal information or movement tracking details, only basic safety information.

In the coming years, drivers will have much to consider about vehicle-to-vehicle communication as officials within government, the auto industry and academia press on with their research. 

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