In recent weeks, dozens of people have been injured and several others killed in Alabama car accidents, mostly attributed to icy roads or other inclement weather conditions.
The Montgomery car accident lawyers at The Mike Slocumb Law Firm know that while drivers may be unable to control the weather, they most certainly can control their reaction to it. In far too many of these cases, crashes occur because one or more drivers failed to reduce their speed and maintain an adequate distance from other vehicles.
Today, there is renewed hope that perhaps the toll won't be nearly as high in years to come, following the recent announcement by officials with the National Highway Safety Association that it plans to press forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology requirements for light vehicles.
The technology works by essentially allowing cars to "talk" to one another, exchanging basic information regarding their position, speed, direction of travel and braking activities. That information can then be translated automatically by other vehicles, which would then automatically react.
This information is traded so quickly - 10 times per second - that it could be extremely valuable in sudden, inclement weather conditions, when visibility is low and drivers don't have much time to react.
Among the victims in recent crashes, according to Alabama State Troopers:
- A 64-year-old Birmingham woman killed on an icy Alabama 5 when struck by another vehicle around 11 a.m.;
- A 29-year-old man and a 2-year-old girl killed on Alabama 14 when icy conditions caused him to collide with another vehicle on the Lay Bridge;
- A 22-year-old active Air Force airman killed in a Montgomery car accident.
Whether V2V technology would have prevented any of these crashes is unknowable, but collision prevention is the key goal of this emerging technology. The NHTSA's finalized report on a year-long pilot program using the technology on 3,000 vehicles in Michigan is expected within the next several months. So far driver clinics conducted by the agency indicated high rates of customer acceptance and favor. Many of the participants have said they would like to extend their use of the V2V technology.
NHTSA's Acting Administrator David Freeman was recently quoted as saying the devices have the potential to "significantly" reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes and injuries in decades to come.
The technology equips vehicles with the ability to gather data from 360-degrees. The information collected alerts the driver to a potentially hazardous situation. The current applications don't automatically operate steering or braking, but the NHTSA is exploring that as a future option.
For now, a good example of the way the system works is this: A driver is trying to determine whether it's safe to pass another vehicle on a two-lane road. If he misjudges, he potentially risks a head-on collision if he can't see around the vehicle in front of him. With V2V technology, the driver can detect a possible threat from hundreds of yards away, even if the other vehicle can't yet be seen or heard by the motorist.
The agency hasn't announced any plans to require V2V on commercial vehicles, but it has held discussions as recently as last summer on the issue.
If you have been involved in an Alabama crash, contact the Mobile car accident lawyers at Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE or visit www.slocumblaw.com.