Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NHTSA Announces Initiative to Improve Highway Safety Through Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced its newest initiative to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the nation's roads. The Significant and Seamless Initiative aims to accelerate technological development in three key areas of highway safety, including failure to use seat belts, drunk driving and driver error.

The initiative has highlighted three promising areas of technological advancement and challenges both the agency and the automotive industry to determine the scope of safety potential in these areas. 

The three technologies are:
  • Seatbelt Interlocks – This technology could prevent a vehicle from being driven if the driver and/or passenger are not properly buckled. NHTSA is conducting research to ensure that such interlocks systems would be both highly reliable and tamper-proof.
  • Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – This technology could prevent a vehicle from being driven by a drunk driver. The ideal system will be able to accurately  detect when a driver is above the legal alcohol limit every time the car is started, without posing an inconvenience to the non-intoxicated driver. NHTSA has partnered with the automotive industry to advance the long-term research in this area and is working on the legal, public policy and consumer acceptance issues.
  • Forward Collision Avoidance and Mitigation (FCAM) – This sensor-based technology has the potential to detect a forward crash before it occurs. In addition to alerting the driver, this technology has the ability to automatically apply the brakes to assist in preventing or reducing the severity a crash. NHTSA is conducting research on the reliability of this technology and has collected enough data to make an agency decision this year as to pathways to advance market penetration into the rest of the fleet.
"In addition to our ongoing work with states and the automotive industry, we need a new vision, and a new blend of technological research to address some of the most significant and persistent threats to American motorists," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "We must look to technological intervention to make the next great leap, and get them poised for fleet adoption as soon as possible."

Visit the NHTSA homepage to learn more.