How Will the Fed’s V2V Mandate Make Driving Safer and Affect Car Accident Cases in Tennessee?

As car and motorcycle accident attorneys in Maryville, we see the tragic results of accidents every day. Being this close to the daily ramifications and costs of vehicle accidents, we pay close attention to any new development in the law or technology that may save lives. One of the newest technologies on the horizon is V2V warning systems. Imagine driving down the road and having your car warn you that the vehicle next to you is swerving into your lane. You slow down just in time to avoid a collision. These technologies are no longer science fiction.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (“V2V”) communications moved one step closer to becoming a part of our daily lives as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released plans to discuss making V2V communications mandatory on all newly manufactured vehicles. V2V communication systems are complex traffic networks made up of vehicle and roadside devices transmitting data back and forth — an internet for cars.

V2V systems are superior to other warning systems because they do not have to compute and predict another vehicle’s trajectory or speed. However, any workable V2V system requires other vehicles on the road to also have a V2V system operating on the same network protocol. The proposed mandate helps overcome this obstacle. In any case, even with a mandate, it could be decades before the V2V systems have any utility as the average turn-over rate for new cars ranges from 15 to 25 years.

V2V systems have been called game changers. Rae Tyson, an NHTSA spokesman, believes 95% of all car crashes are due to human error. A recent article in the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that V2V systems could prevent 80% of all non-impaired driving accidents. If these predictions are accurate, the number of accidents prevented could be in the millions.

The NHTSA proposal has not come without criticism. During a Senate hearing on the future of V2V systems, Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia asked the important question, “can some 14-year old in Indonesia figure out how to do this and just shut your car down … because everything is now wired up?” As the NHTSA opens up to public comment, issues of privacy and security will probably be in the forefront.

Another interesting aspect to contemplate is how V2V systems will change the personal injury legal field. The implementation of the smart phones gave rise to a whole new set of laws and cases surrounding distracted drivers. If the predictions about reducing accidents come true, cases may shift from negligence to products liability. V2V systems, like any other car product, will come with their own manufacturing errors and design flaws. According to the NHTSA, auto manufacturers filed over 650 safety recalls in 2012 affecting more than 17.8 million vehicles.

Other legal issues may arise. Will drivers be lulled into a false sense of security? People may drive less defensively if they become reliant on their car’s warning system presenting a problem when pedestrians, bikers, and other vehicles do not transmit V2V signals. V2V systems might create a new set of car accident defenses like false positives.

One can almost foresee the courtroom arguments. Is ignoring a V2V warning a breach of the duty of care or is the warning a mere suggestion? Drivers might not be aware of another car’s defensive actions and may begin ignoring the warning system. Currently, how many drivers ignore stop signs or do not follow the two second rule when following other vehicles?

As car accident lawyers, we see the suffering that car accident victims face everyday, and we like to keep abreast of any development that claims to make the roads safer. We will be watching the introduction of V2V systems and keep you updated.

In the meantime, drivers still drive negligently and accidents still happen. Our job is to make sure our clients get adequate compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligent driving of another, speak with a local motorcycle and car accident lawyer with the experience to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you have been the victim of a car accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657.

Additional Resources:
U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Decision to Move Forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology for Light Vehicles , Feb. 3, 2014, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Website

Car-to-car talk: Hey, look out for that collision!, Feb. 3, 2014, Knoxville News Sentinel

More Blog Entries:
Why Knoxville or Maryville Accident Victims Should Consider Speaking with an Attorney — Al-Athari V. Gamboa and Morgan Southern, Inc., Jan. 15, 2014, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

Tire Maintenance & Summertime Traffic Accidents in Tennessee, Jul. 31, 2013, Knoxville Injury Lawyer Blog

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