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Could 'talking cars' reduce city bus accident rates?

Anyone who has spent time on Chicago-area roads during rush hour knows exactly how congested they can be. In an effort to save time, money and stress during their daily commute, many from Naperville (and other suburbs) use mass transit. Although this is a convenient form of transportation, riders run the risk of becoming involved in a bus accident due to inattentive rush-hour drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is set to make a decision that could make roads safer for bus riders and car drivers alike. Sometime this year, the agency will determine whether or not future cars will "talk" to each other. This technology would send signals between cars, busses and trucks alerting drivers of sudden stoppages or lane changes.

In order to effectively alert drivers of oncoming buses, this technology would send a signal to nearby drivers that a mass-transit bus is approaching or changing lanes. This would give drivers the chance to avoid a passing bus causing an accident while allowing buses to travel at a time-efficient speed.

On the other hand, the technology could also allow for communication in the other between cars and buses. If a car is about to move into a different lane of traffic, the bus driver could react appropriately to keep riders safe.

Although Chicago and federal officials are always looking at ways to improve highway safety, the reality is that bus and car drivers will continue to make mistakes and cause accidents. It's helpful to know that commuters could benefit from "talking" cars, but it's equally critical for mass-transit users know their legal options in the event that they are injured in a collision, even in light of technological improvements.

Source: The Atlantic, "Why Talking Cars Will Be Good for Buses," Emily Badger, Jan. 25, 2013

  • Determining your next steps after becoming injured in a city bus accident can be a confusing process. To find out more, please see our Naperville mass transit injury page.

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