As lawmakers and regulators alike look for all opportunities to minimize accidents that lead to catastrophic damage, it’s possible that vehicle-to-vehicle communication may become a reality sooner than anticipated.

It has been two years since the NHTSA issued their first notice about the potential requirements for vehicle-to-vehicle technology, but recent reports indicate the agency is ready to take the next step. It’s anticipated that this new protocol will be outlined as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 150. If accepted without major changes, all car manufacturers would have to install dedicated short-range radios into new cars beginning in approximately 2020.

The new technology is somewhat similar to WiFi, allowing the radios to receive and send short messages up to ten times per second. The range can stretch up to 1500 feet if weather conditions are optimal. For any vehicle receiving messages, drivers would get advanced alerts about things like a vehicle or obstacle in the road ahead. The information broadcasted through the radios includes speed, braking status, and position. For example, a car ahead that has just activated anti-lock brakes due to a slippery road might transmit a message that warns drivers behind.

Today’s traditional vehicle sensors don’t go as far because they are limited to line of sight. These cameras or radar, unlike vehicle-to-vehicle technology requirements the NHTSA is considering, are unable to capture information around a corner or to see through bigger vehicles like trucks. Vehicle-to-vehicle, however, can help broaden this range and allow for a higher number of people to be protected.

Many commercial trucks already make use of some technology that alerts them to factors that could increase their crash risk, such as getting too close to another car. This was done by the trucking industry in an effort to cut down on deadly crashes.

Even with technology like V2V communication or autonomous vehicles, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Distraction is increasingly a cause of vehicle crashes. When reckless or negligent behavior is identified in a crash like this, an accident could have devastating repercussions.

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