Wrong-way accidents frequently occur at high speeds and these high speed collisions are often deadly. This type of crash, which often occurs on highways or on exit and entrance wraps, tends to be head-on so the force of the impact is magnified. Wrong way accidents commonly happen when drivers are drunk, but can also happen if drivers are distracted, dozing off behind the wheel, or simply confused and enter a road going in the wrong direction. Drivers either cross center lines or get onto roads going the wrong way to cause these accidents.
New efforts to prevent wrong-way crashes are underway, including the development of an app which would allow different vehicles to communicate with each other over radio frequency. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated a frequency to be used for vehicle-to-vehicle communications and an app is being tested now and may soon be deployed to prevent wrong-way car accidents from happening.
Could Technology Help to Stop Wrong Way Car Accidents from Occurring
According to Dayton Daily News, Department of Transportation has been working on developing smart car technologies such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications for around a decade. A new communication app under development is now very close to being ready for deployment. While the app is expected to be ready towards the end of the year, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has already begun the rule-making process. The proposed new rule would require the technology to be installed in all new light duty cars and trucks.
If the vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology is installed, drivers would be able to communicate over the designated frequency to provide alerts to other motorists about oncoming wrong-way traffic and about other hazards which could result in a motor vehicle accident happening. Transportation authorities would also be alerted to the fact there is a wrong way driver so they could take action and provide assistance. The drivers in the vehicles would also be given a warning they are traveling in the wrong direction and a collision is impending.
DOT estimates smart car technology like the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system could help to reduce accidents by as much as 80 percent. However, the technology is still not going to be foolproof as long as drivers remain in control of vehicles. If motorists are impaired behind the wheel and ignore the warnings and continue to operate their vehicle going in the wrong direction, there will be no way to prevent the wrong-way accident from happening. Only full automation can overcome the possibility human error will cause a crash.
Regardless of what technologies are installed in vehicles, it ultimately remains the responsibility of every driver to stay sober, to avoid high-risk behaviors which could cause wrong-way accidents or other types of collisions, and to ensure they are doing their part to keep themselves and others safe on the roads.