Talking cars: the latest in car accident prevention


by Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

As car technology advances, it’s fairly safe to say the risk of

car accidents

reduces. That can be a dose of good news to those who have already been involved in a car accident – nearly 6 million this year alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Now, the government is taking car technology a step further: talking cars -- consider it a sign of the times. Vehicles, now housed with wireless technology, will allow a sort of “speak” from one vehicle to another, thereby allowing vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Experts conclude that vehicle-to-vehicle communication may help prevent car accidents since the technology aims to warn drivers of potential mishaps on the road ahead.

The Department of Transportation will be closely inspecting so-called “connected” systems that would allow for such vehicle-to-vehicle communication to take place. Tests will not be housed in a simulated environment: instead, researchers have elected to peruse talking cars in real-life traffic scenarios. In other words, it may be a matter of weeks until you may find yourself parked next to a communicating vehicle.

Dubbed the “Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot” program, this innovative car technology will enable drivers to apply applications for various functions. For instance, a driver may be enable notifications when a car ahead is braking too aggressively. Or, the communication device may aid the driver when passing another vehicle, or when entering a dangerous intersection.

The goal of the device is to reduce the risk of car accidents. In other words, if an ordinary driver is alerted to a dangerous traffic situation before it’s too late, the driver can react appropriately and potentially stop the accident before it happens. In fact, researchers believe the technology may help to prevent over 80 percent of all unimpaired crashes, according to

Consumer Reports


Talking car technology will unroll in Michigan first, later hitting Minnesota, Texas, Florida, and our very own California through January 2012. Partners of the program include General Motors, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen.

As tests for the pilot program are underway, researchers will evaluate how drivers respond to the technology, and if wireless communication can, in fact, prevent car accidents.

For more information on the program, go to the

Department of Transportation

for more information on how to apply as a driver or become involved with the pilot program.

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