A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) program to determine what drivers think of vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies completed its first phase, according to the organization, with feedback from 688 drivers showing a strong preference for these technologies. Roughly four out of five participants (82%) said they strongly agree that they would like to have vehicle-to-vehicle safety features on a vehicle they drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) are working with the auto industry and other state and federal entities to research whether vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies are effective in preventing crashes. Part of this effort was a group of six “driver acceptance clinics” to gauge drivers’ receptivity to these new technologies, which is where the DOT measured the opinions of the 688 drivers.

Technologies drivers evaluated included those that provide forward collision alerts, alert drivers to cars approaching an intersection, and that warn of vehicles changing lanes or moving into a driver’s blind spot.
“Safety is our top priority, and we are always looking for ways that innovative technology can be harnessed to improve driver safety,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Connected vehicle technology offers tremendous promise — for improving safety, reducing traffic jams and increasing fuel efficiency. It’s encouraging to see that most drivers agree and want this technology in their cars.”

In addition, NHTSA and RITA plan to launch the second phase of their Connected Vehicle program (called the “Safety Pilot”) this summer. During the second phase, about 3,000 vehicles equipped with crash-avoidance technologies (including forward collision alerts, warnings that alert a driver if a vehicle ahead stops suddenly, and “do not pass” alerts) will drive on roads in Ann Arbor, Mich.

A select number of vehicles in this program will also have technologies equipped that allow them to communicate with roadway infrastructure.

Once the second phase is complete, NHTSA will use the results of the Safety Pilot to determine whether to proceed with future projects that use vehicle-to-vehicle communications technologies and to possibly determine future rulemakings.