“In many ways, the car hasn’t changed as much in the entire last century as it’s about to change in the next few years. And that change, that safety revolution driven by technology can be accompanied—must be accompanied—by a parallel transformation in culture,” said Mark Rosekind, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator, during a recent speech in Washington, D.C.
Vehicles are now designed to avoiding crashing, he pointed out.
“This transformation represents an extraordinary change that will affect nearly every aspect of highway transportation,” Rosekind said. “And it’s not just science fiction. It’s here now. Automated systems, such as lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking, as well as connected-vehicle technologies led by vehicle-to-vehicle communication—will save lives, prevent crashes and reduce the tragic annual toll that we have accepted for the last century of automotive history.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA are working to make automated, connected vehicles a reality, he said.
“The great safety potential for these advances lies in their ability to account for our human flaws behind the wheel,” he added. “Impaired, distracted, drowsy, inattentive, too fast, too reckless—too often. Ninety-four percent of the time, in fact, fatal crashes can be attributed to a driver’s decision. The technology now under development in Detroit, in Gothenburg in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, can help account for those decisions.”