Coming soon: Cars that talk to other cars to prevent accidents

Many traffic accidents occur because of human errors and oversights, such as when a driver fails to see another car approaching an intersection or misjudges the distance needed to safely complete a turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. In recent years, with cellphones and other handheld electronic devices fueling an ongoing distracted driving epidemic, the risk of accidents caused by inattentive driving is a constant threat on West Virginia's roads and highways. In the coming years, experts say, cars may be increasingly equipped to counteract the effects of human error and distraction through new technologies.

One such innovation, which has been in the works for over a decade, is a system known as vehicle to vehicle communication technology, or V2V for short. This technology enables cars to exchange information directly with one another via computers and wireless networks in order to identify potentially undetected collision risks.

A savings of 1,000 lives per year

Between 2012 and 2014, researchers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration partnered with the University of Michigan to study the potential impact of V2V systems by equipping a fleet of 3,000 vehicles with the technology. Based on the data obtained from that study, the researchers predict that widespread V2V implementation could prevent about half a million car accidents and 1,000 fatalities each year.

The MIT Technology Review described V2V technology as one of the biggest technology breakthroughs in 2015 and predicted that the systems will soon be widely available - potentially within the next year or two. In order for them to be effective, however, it is essential that the systems developed by different vehicle manufacturers are compatible with one another. Therefore, carmakers are having to cooperate and share data with one another as they develop their own versions of the new technology and prepare for widespread implementation. This type of openness and collaboration is unusual in the normally competitive and secretive automotive industry.

Making the law work for you

Nationwide, over 5 million vehicle accidents occur each year, and more than 30,000 of them result in at least one fatality. In West Virginia, car accidents killed 332 people in 2013 alone, and injured many more. If you or someone you love has been hurt or killed in a crash in West Virginia, it is important for you to know that you may have access to financial compensation through the legal system - even if there are no criminal charges involved. Contact the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Warner Law Offices to discuss the individual circumstances of your case and learn about the options that may be available to you.