Transportation officials praise safety prospects of car-to-car communication

Transportation officials say car-to-car communication technology, which is still years away from hitting the streets, could have an impact on reducing crashes, deaths and injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that vehicle-to-vehicle communications could prevent up to 80 percent of accidents that don't involve drunk drivers or mechanical failure.

It works like the radar planes use to steer clear of each other in the skies. A radio beacon would continually transmit a vehicle's position, heading speed and other information. Cars would receive the same information back from other vehicles, and a vehicle's computer would alert the driver to an impending collision. Some systems may automatically brake to avoid an accident if manufacturers choose to include that option. The technology has been in the works for the past decade.

Government officials were not able to say how much the transmitters would increase the price of a new vehicle but the transportation society estimates it would be around $100 to $200.

Those who have spent years working on this technology are glad to see the government taking such great interest in getting it implemented and working as soon as possible.

Automakers are also enthusiastic about vehicle-to-vehicle technology, but feel there are important technical, security and privacy questions that need to be worked out first.

One transportation official said the technology will change how automakers design new vehicles. They will be designing cars to avoid crashes instead of just surviving them.

Once automakers start adding the new technology to all new cars, it will take 15 years or more for half the cars on the nation's roads to be equipped. There are about 5-6 million new cars sold every year.


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