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Technology has presented many new ways for drivers to become dangerously distracted on the road, but it has also provided many recent advancements in safety that can protect car occupants. Current high-end cars already come with features like self-adjusting cruise control, automatic braking systems, and built-in stability control. A new feature, relying on dedicated short-range communications between vehicles, will provide a way for drivers to "see" cars that would otherwise be invisible to them, and even to know how fast these unseen cars are going. 

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications have long been considered a highly-anticipated development in driver safety among experts, and they have been the subject of research conducted by the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for over ten years. The short-range communications, transmitted by radio wave, will permit nearby cars to exchange information such as the speed and direction in which each car is traveling, the car's exact location, and whether or not the car is applying its brakes. Unlike cameras or radar devices currently in use to assist drivers in identifying imminent accidents, the radio waves used by vehicle-to-vehicle communications would be able to identify risks that were not otherwise visible, such as a car that was about to speed toward you from around the corner, or a car approaching an intersection that you were unable to see before making a turn. The technology would be able to alert drivers to cars stopped in the road ahead, or let you know that another car is concealed in your blind spot before you merge into that car's lane.

In a report issued by the NHTSA, the agency detailed the many ways the communication system could prevent injuries and property damage on the road, but focused specifically on the safety advantages to be gained from two applications of the technology: left turn assist and intersection movement assist. According to their research, the NHTSA asserted that these features alone could prevent 50% of all accidents occurring due to poorly-timed left turns or entry into an unsafe intersection, leading to a reduction of nearly 600,000 traffic accidents each year, and resulting in over 1,000 lives saved. The NHTSA expressed its intention to eventually make the communication systems mandatory in all new vehicles and plans to release proposed regulations on the technology in 2016.

The day when traffic accidents are a thing of the past is not yet here, unfortunately, and for now we are still at the mercy of negligent, distracted and reckless drivers. For assistance in making a claim for damages resulting from a car accident in northern New Jersey, contact the knowledgeable Morristown personal injury law firm Smith & Doran for a consultation on your possible lawsuit, at 973-292-0016.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
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