Late last year, the federal Department of Transportation announced a proposed rule in what is called a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which started a 90 day public comment period. The announcement didn’t seem to get much notice, but we think it is actually a very big deal. The rule relates to something called vehicle-to vehicle or V2V technology. This new technology would apply to “light vehicles” meaning cars and similar vehicles that we drive every day in Georgia. The idea behind this technology is simple, but quite significant. It could allow vehicles to avoid some crashes and possibly protect occupants from serious or fatal injury. That is quite a stunning turn, particularly in light of driverless cars and could help deal with the upsurge in distracted driving.
This technology is very much targeted at saving lives, but also includes privacy guarantees so that personal information about the vehicle’s owner or occupants are protected. According to the former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who hailed the new technology as a remarkable advance in safety, V2V allows vehicles to have a complete “awareness” of the vehicles around them. The work supporting the technological advance has been going on in our federal agencies for the past few years and hopefully will continue. It is thought to be a very important addition to the advances being made in the area of driverless cars. If we are to have driverless cars on our roads, this V2V technology will help those vehicles to drive more safely.
Although some of this seems like an episode of the vintage animated cartoon show, The Jetsons, it is quite real and will be our future. The combination of driverless and V2V could create a highway and driving experience that is actually less stressful and less dangerous than the current driving experience. But this will take a long while and will involve not only the vehicle to vehicle communications, but the ability for vehicles to communicate with things like traffic lights and railroad crossings.
Some estimates of the positive impact on our driving are actually very optimistic. It remains to be seen whether all of this is realized and how many decades it will take for it to become a reality. But the fact is that eventually our vehicles will be equipped to talk to one another and to avoid risks that are now managed by human drivers. Very dangerous conditions like the possibility for head-on collision on a rural road or the common danger for motorcyclists making left turns at intersections would be improved by this technology.
We will follow whether the new administration in Washington will continue to support this technology and how the rule making process proceeds. But one thing is certain, the driving experience will change over time and Georgia will likely come along for the ride.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, whether a car, truck, bus or motorcycle, we are here to help you. Scholle Law will provide a free consultation and represents the victims of injury with skill and tenacity. Please contact our law offices at any time to discuss your situation.