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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Contact: Susan Slye
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 35-01

DOT Announces Test to Prevent Run-off-the-Road Crashes

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the start of an intelligent vehicle operational test of a system designed to help drivers avoid run-off-the-road crashes. The system warns drivers when they are about to drift off the road and crash into an obstacle or are traveling too fast for an upcoming curve.

"Too many lives are lost on our nation's highways, and this initiative is another step toward improving highway safety through the use of new technologies," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. "The Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) system studied in this test is intended to help save lives and reduce injuries by preventing crashes before they occur."

The test will involve about 120 drivers, ranging in age from 18 to 70, who will use 10 equipped cars for several weeks each in the Detroit region of southeast Michigan. The test will last three years, with on-road testing starting in 2003. The test will assess the maturity of system technology to support its commercial deployment, predict driver acceptance, and evaluate the safety implications of deployment. The technology warns of an imminent collision, but the driver retains control of the vehicle. The system operates on straight and curved paved roads as well as day or night and in light rain.

Run-off-the-road crashes account for more than 20 percent of all police-reported crashes (1.2 million a year) and more than 41 percent of all in-vehicle fatalities (15,000 a year). The test system has the potential to prevent run-off-the-road crashes caused by driver inattention, distraction, drowsiness, and excessive speed.

Partners in the project are the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Visteon Corp. in Dearborn, MI, and AssistWare Technology, Inc. in Wexford, PA. Navigation Technologies, a company based in Chicago, will supply the map database, a critical component of the system. The $18.5 million cost of the test is split between public and private sector partners. DOT's contribution of $10.5 million is 57 percent of the project's allocated funding.

The conference report of the fiscal year 2001 Transportation Appropriations Act designated IVI funding for "an operational test to advance collision avoidance technologies in the light vehicle platform." IVI is a key component of DOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program. ITS saves lives, time, and money through combining advanced communications and transportation technologies to manage and operate transportation systems.

For additional information, visit DOT's ITS Website at http://www.its.dot.gov/.

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