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New anti-collision technology to cut highway fatalities in half?

Car-on-car collisions comprise a large percentage of car accidents occurring on American roadways. Newly developed wireless technology may drastically reduce the occurrence rate of these fatalities, though, saving lives and costs resulting from these collisions.

The technology allows nearby cars to transmit to and from one another, creating a network of communication that allows one vehicle to know the activity of the vehicles traveling around it, including lane changing and abrupt speeding up or slowing down.

This communication is accomplished by information relays that occur 10 times each second. If a potentially hazardous situation develops, a car can then alert its driver through a variety of methods to take prompt action.

If the driver does not respond, or if the need for action is urgent, the car can even call itself to action and engage safety procedures.

According to experts, the technology could decrease car crash fatalities by 50 percent or more, both in Ohio and throughout the rest of the country. The savings for insurance companies and car owners could also be significant, cutting millions of dollars out of medical bills and repair costs every year.

And non-fatal accidents would also be greatly reduced. Experts note that the technology would be applicable in 80 percent of all car accidents. Although it may not prevent accidents in every situation, it could help drivers avoid a high percentage of crashes and reduce the severity of other accidents.

Currently, a test of 3,000 vehicles equipped with the technology is being conducted to evaluate its efficacy and test for any bugs in the system.

Source: Washington Post, “The not-too-distant future of driving: When cars can talk, crashes may be avoided,” Ashley Halsey III, April 10, 2012