WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Monday it is taking a first step toward requiring that future cars and light trucks be equipped with technology that enables them to warn each other of potential danger in time to avoid collisions.
A research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the technology could eventually prevent 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes a year, saving 1,083 lives. The agency said it will begin drafting rules to require the technology in new vehicles.
The technology uses a radio signal to continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information. Similarly equipped cars and trucks would receive the same information, and their computers would alert drivers to an impending collision.
A car would “see” when another car or truck equipped with the same technology was about to run a red light, even if that vehicle were hidden around a corner. A car would also know when a car several vehicles ahead in a line of traffic had made a sudden stop and alert the driver even before the brake lights of the vehicle directly in front illuminate. The technology works up to about 300 yards away.
If communities choose to invest in the technology, roadways and traffic lights could start talking to cars, as well, sending warnings of traffic congestion or road hazards ahead in time for drivers to take a detour.