The fate of a proposed vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) mandate is still open for debate, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The DOT’s announcement comes shortly after several reports suggested the Trump administration is planning on abandoning the V2V mandate because of burdensome costs.
V2V technology allows vehicles to exchange information on speed, heading, braking and other details that could be used in conjunction with semi-autonomous technology.
Several news outlets reported on Wednesday, Nov. 1, that the DOT was considering significant changes to plans of creating a national standard for V2V communications. Four groups – Intelligent Transportation Society of America, Institute of Transportation Engineers, American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and V2I Deployment Coalition – immediately issued a statement regarding the reports.
“If these reports are correct, this change in policy will result in a substantial setback in our nation’s efforts to reduce the number of traffic crashes that result in death or injury,” the statement said.
Apparently, the reports are not correct.
The DOT quickly responded with its own statement:
“The Department of Transportation and NHTSA have not made any final decision on the proposed rulemaking concerning a V2V mandate. Any reports to the contrary are mistaken. In all events, DOT hopes to use the dedicated spectrum for transportation lifesaving technologies. Safety is the Department’s number one priority.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still in the process of reviewing and considering more than 460 comments submitted concerning V2V communications. NHTSA’s V2V proposed rulemaking was approved on Dec. 28, 2016, and published on Jan. 12 after the rulemaking project was initiated back in July 2014. The proposed rulemaking is still pending and awaits a decision.
Proposed rulemaking RIN 2127-AL55 “would require that all light vehicles be capable of V2V communication by use of on-board dedicated short-range radio communication devices, which would broadcast messages about a vehicle's speed, heading, brake status, and other information to other vehicles and receive the same information from the messages, with extended range and ´line-of-sight´ capabilities.” Heavy commercial vehicles would not be included if passed.
Initial reports suggested the possible elimination of the V2V mandate would be part of the Trump administration’s attempt to get rid of costly regulations that pose an economic burden on businesses. So far, the DOT has withdrawn or revised 13 rules. The V2V mandate is not one of them, the DOT noted in its statement.
According to the Associated Press, the proposal was dropped from the Office of Management and Budget’s list of regulations actively under consideration. Consequently, the proposal has been moved to OMB’s long-term agenda.
Tech companies have mostly opposed the mandate, claiming DSRC technology is outdated. Abandoning the current proposal mandating DSRC devices would open up possibilities for faster and better cellular and 5G technology.
Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel responded to the Associated Press report on Twitter:
Many automakers have favored various forms of DSRC devices and have included them in their vehicles without the mandate. Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports, is in favor of the mandate as well.
“We would oppose any effort in the administration to slow down or stop work on the safety standard for V2V communications," David Friedman, director of cars and product policy and analysis for Consumers Union, said in a statement. “We strongly urge the White House and Department of Transportation to be transparent with the public and make clear right away whether or not they intend for this rule to move forward.”
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