Trump Kills V2V Mandate

The Trump administration has “quietly set aside” the proposed mandate to have all new cars come with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. This mandate had been proposed during the Obama administration, with a formal proposed rule published just a few days before Trump’s inauguration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the rule would save lives, but opponents said it would be expensive, use a technology that was nearly obsolete, and wouldn’t save that many lives anyway.

One of the biggest reasons to oppose the rule is that it would leave America’s auto fleet vulnerable to hackers. Auto manufacturers are developing their own safety technologies, but if every car made after 2018 was required to use the same technology, a hacker could control millions of cars at a time. At the same time, it would give the government the power to turn off your car if it believed you were driving too much.

The AP story about the administration’s decision points out that highway fatalities are rising. But it failed to note that NHTSA itself predicts that the mandate would have saved only a couple of dozen lives a year by 2025, mainly because a majority of cars wouldn’t yet have the technology. Even after all cars had it, the agency predicted it would save no more than 1,365 lives a year, and that assumed that no other technology (such as autonomous cars) would come along that would render V2V redundant. The AP story also failed to mention that the fastest growing type of auto fatalities was pedestrians, and the V2V mandate would have done nothing to help them.

For the V2I portion of the program to work would require that state and local governments spend billions of dollars installing and maintaining electronic infrastructure. Since cities can’t fill potholes or keep traffic signals coordinated, it seems unlikely that they would be able to deal with even more infrastructure.

In the end, the proposed mandate was mainly supported by the electronics firms that would have benefitted from the requirements that automakers and highway owners use their products. The administration was right to reject the rule because NHTSA was overestimating the benefits, underestimating the costs, and ignoring other technologies on the horizon that would save even more lives without the risks of hacking or government intrusion into people’s privacy.

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9 thoughts on “Trump Kills V2V Mandate

  1. metrosucks

    Since cities can’t fill potholes or keep traffic signals coordinated

    That’s incorrect. Cities all over the Puget Sound area have done a remarkable job coordinating their traffic lights. So has the Portland area. The traffic lights turn red just before you get to them, assuming you’re travelling the posted speed. You can choose to believe it’s incompetence or coincidence, but knowing government, I’m going with malovelence.

  2. prk166

    This is great news. There’s nothing more fragile than the sort of system they were proposing to enforce. The Fat Tail on that is beyond mind blowing. V2V would enable all sorts of disasters, such as north Korean hackers ( likely based out of China ) to shut down the entire US highway system.

  3. CapitalistRoader

    “In the end, the proposed mandate was mainly supported by the electronics firms that would have benefitted from the requirements that automakers and highway owners use their products.”

    And the government employees who would be the recipients of the graft those electronics firms would have no doubt paid.

  4. itseric

    Let’s also remember that some 50% of all new cars and trucks have some kind of toned down AI in them today whether it’s emergency braking, lane following, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, etc that will likely help reduce accident rates within 5 years. Americans buy some 17 Million new vehicles per year out of some 260 Million cars registered in the US for a rate of 6.5% per year. A large number of these are going to be the heavy mileage commuter cars or business use vehicles. After 5 years we are looking at 32% of all vehicles on the road having some decent accident prevention tech on board and that will translate in lower accident rates in the national stats.

    All without any substantial fed involvement… Just the free market doing what consumers want to do…

  5. prk166


    The AP story about the administration’s decision points out that highway fatalities are rising. But it failed to note that NHTSA itself predicts that the mandate would have saved only a couple of dozen lives a year by 2025, mainly because a majority of cars wouldn’t yet have the technology. Even after all cars had it, the agency predicted it would save no more than 1,365 lives a year, and that assumed that no other technology (such as autonomous cars) would come along that would render V2V redundant
    ” ~anti-planner

    Reading this again had me confused over what this V2V was about. If I’m reading it correctly, in terms of accident prevention it’s a means for cars to detect other cars. It does other stuff but that’s not relevant to accidents.

    The thing is, we already have that in cars today. We don’t need V2V for that. It may be better at that but I didn’t see anyone making that sort of claim. If even it’s champions aren’t making that claim it probably is not.

    The real issue isn’t V2V but V2V being mandated. It’s going to add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new vehicle. Manufactures would likely have to drop other features to have it.

    That is to say, the radar and cameras that Toyota puts in it’s little Corolla today, the ones that help keep the car in it’s lane or sound an alarm if you’re coming up too fast on a car ahead of you ( aka, going to rear end them ). They may end up dropping that stuff, even though it’s being used today and works, because the Feds would have a law mandating the V2V. Well, they wouldn’t have to but if you’re increasing the cost of a Corrolla by 15%, you’re going to need to cut back somewhere else to keep people buying new ones.

  6. CapitalistRoader

    Re: hackers. My 13-year-old car has four wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and dynamic cruise control. Those systems can override my steering, braking, and acceleration inputs. Yet, to my knowledge, none have ever been hacked and controlled by Chinese or Russian hackers, and they all work just fine. I wish my car had lane keeping and GPS automatic trip navigation but it doesn’t. But I guarantee my next car (or next car service) will. And in 20 years my guess is that I’ll be ferried around in a level 5, fully antonymous car that hackers won’t be able to touch. And w/o VTV. Perhaps with LPS but not dependent on VTV.

  7. prk166

    Well, just because someone hasn’t broken into your house doesn’t mean that someone can not break into your house.

    Modern cars have piss pour security that is only just beginning to be exploited. V2V is a system that creates more than a button ton of vectors for a attack, with every other car and every street sign and traffic light being ripe targets. Even without V2V, these new cars are a ripe target. But adding a V2V grows the security risk exponentially.

    https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/

    I WAS DRIVING 70 mph on the edge of downtown St. Louis when the exploit began to take hold.
    Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep Cherokee started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring Skee-lo at full volume. I spun the control knob left and hit the power button, to no avail. Then the windshield wipers turned on, and wiper fluid blurred the glass.

    As I tried to cope with all this, a picture of the two hackers performing these stunts appeared on the car’s digital display: Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, wearing their trademark track suits. A nice touch, I thought.

  8. JOHN1000

    Everything you need to know about the rule can be summed up as to when it was created. “with a formal proposed rule published just a few days before Trump’s inauguration.”

    After being in office 8 years, Obama has this done at the last second — for one reason. So that the media and swamp guys can scream that Trump is killing people by eliminating this essential regulation.

    Almost everything reversed by Trump was passed at the last minute or in the last year of Obama’s term in office. But CNN, et al will make it sound like the rule has been in effect since Moses brought down the Ten Commandments.

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