Feds to Require Anti-collision Technology in New Cars - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Feds to Require Anti-collision Technology in New Cars

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MISSOULA -

U.S. Department of Transportation officials may require auto makers to equip new cars and trucks with anti-collision technology.

The technology allows vehicles to communicate with each other over radio waves similar to Wi-Fi.

Federal officials said this vehicle-to-vehicle communication could transform traffic safety.

They estimate the technology could prevent up to 80% of accidents that don't involve drunk drivers or mechanical failure.

Detective Sergeant Travis Welsh said Missoula Police respond to traffic accidents every day.

"Most of those are caused really by inattention or distractions of some kind," Welsh said.

And during the winter in Montana, Welsh said drivers need to pay even more attention to the road.

"With bad weather of course, you have to pay more attention and you have to give yourself a reactionary gap," he said.

But the latest vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, technology could provide a sort of safety net if a driver doesn't see a potential collision ahead.

Welsh said, "In other words, the car is taking over some of the attention that drivers are responsible for now."

U.S. Department of Transportation officials said a transponder would continually transmit a vehicle's position, speed and other information 10 times per second in all directions over radio waves.

"I can see that it might reduce accidents or collisions," Welsh said.

Cars could share that information back and forth, and a vehicle's computer would alert the driver to an impending collision.

"What that does is preload the brakes so you can stop a lot quicker," said Hal Woods, the General Sales Manager at Bitterroot Motors.

Woods said the latest Ford vehicles have technology similar to V2V technology. He said the system also alerts drivers attempting to change lanes when there's a car in their blind spot.

"It'll detect if you start getting drowsy at the wheel by the pressure on the steering wheel."

Woods said he thinks it's a good idea to require anti-collision technology in new vehicles, and his customers would agree.

"I think that we're more worried about the safety features than the gas mileage features," he said.

Federal officials recently tested V2V technology in 3,000 cars in Michigan, and are finalizing data on that pilot program.

DOT officials said the new requirements would be in place by early 2017.

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