The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed on December 13 that requiring every new vehicle to be able to “communicate” with other cars on the road with short-range wireless technology could help avoid tens of thousands of car accidents annually.
Neglecting vehicles costs the U.S. economy over $2 billion every year, and can lead to more crashes if vehicle maintenance, like tire replacement, is ignored in icy conditions.
Regulators first announced they were pursuing the technology required in 2014, and now are giving automakers four years from the time it’s finalized to comply. At that point, automotive companies would be required to ensure every vehicle is equipped with the technology.
In addition, all vehicles would “speak the same language” by using the same standard technology. President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will be responsible for deciding whether or not to finalize the proposal.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that communication between vehicles could reduce the severity of or even eliminate up to 80% of accidents where substance abuse isn’t a suspected cause. They NHTSA believes this technology could be especially helpful in preventing accidents that occur at intersections or while drivers are changing lanes.
Smart cars are no longer an idea of the future; they’re here and being used every day. In fact, the NYPD has begun using these vehicles as well. They may not possess the ability to communicate with one another just yet, but they’re helping police in NYC create a safer environment.
Though many people may think they’re just for looks, the truth is that these tiny cousins to the traditional NYPD cruisers are safer, less expensive, and easier to handle.
Not only that, but the newer smart cars are replacing the strange three-wheeled scooter-like vehicles that have been used to patrol NYC streets from time to time. In addition to being safer, the new smart cars are helping NYPD officers create a friendlier image in a time of low crime.
“It’s just so approachable,” said Robert S. Martinez, the deputy commissioner for support services, who oversees the department’s vehicles. “People want to take pictures with it. People want to hug it, they want to kiss it. It’s just amazing.”
Above all else, the safety of these vehicles is appealing to the NYPD. If that type of appeal is something the auto industry needs, then the Department of Transportation’s proposal is certainly one that warrants much consideration from the President-elect’s administration.