Safety technology requires regulatory reform

The regulatory implications of new technology which allows vehicles and other parts of the road network to ‘talk’ to each other must be considered, according to a discussion paper released recently by the National Transport Commission (NTC).

Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technology is currently being trialled in the US and Europe by auto manufacturers and governments to enable drivers to better plan and adapt their driving route to avoid heavy congestion, crashes or road works. Warning systems can be activated to alert road users of potential collisions with other road users or notifications of changed traffic conditions such as a train approaching a railway crossing.

C-ITS works by enabling different elements of the transport network, including vehicles and infrastructure, to exchange information via dedicated short range communication.

NTC chief executive Nick Dimopoulos said the technology has the potential to revolutionise road safety with research indicating its introduction to Australia could save over 300 lives a year.

“With road trauma in Australia currently accounting for 1300 deaths each year, this technology has the potential to provide a leap forward in road safety,” he commented.

“So that Australia can harness the benefits of C-ITS technology, we need to start working through the implications now.”

The discussion paper is available on the NTC website (www.ntc.gov.au) and is open for public comment until January 31, 2013 via the NTC website or by mail to the NTC at Level 15/628 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000.

“We are keen to hear from all Australians as the introduction of C-ITS has the potential to impact upon everybody,” Nick Dimopoulos concluded.

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