Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that “it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles.” Along with this announcement, NHTSA has also stated that they will “begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year.” 1
With V2V technology, a transponder in a car would continuously transmit a car’s information such as position, speed, and direction via wireless signals. Other vehicles would also send back the same information and the car’s computer would warn the driver of an approaching collision. Some V2V systems may be able to trigger the brakes in the car to avoid an accident. The technology uses radio signals similar to Wi-Fi to transmit information 10 times per second in all directions.
NHTSA is hailing V2V as a beneficial technology that “represents the next generation of auto safety improvements” and will “play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry.” 2
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers raised concerns over V2V system that need to be addressed, including “security and privacy, along with consumer acceptance, affordability, achieving the critical mass to enable the ‘network effect’ and establishment of the necessary legal and regulatory framework.” 3
One concern that has not been considered is: How will the EMF from the V2V systems affect drivers, passengers and those living near highways or other roads frequented by cars?
Although research on EMF and Wi-Fi is still sparse, enough evidence has surfaced already to prompt municipalities to pass laws that aim to limit exposure and protect consumers. In 2008, the city of Paris dismantled the Wi-Fi in several of its libraries after employees complained of headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms. That year, the National Library of France also announced its choice of a wired network over a Wi-Fi solution. 4 Just last month, the French National Assembly passed a bill aimed at limiting exposure to EMF including mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and tablets. Under the newly adopted law, cell phone manufacturers will recommend a hands-free kit and advertising targeted towards those under 14 will be prohibited. In addition, Wi-Fi equipment has been banned in nursuries and child care facilities hosting children less than 3 years old. 5
Scientists and health experts around the world have come together to create the BioInitiative Report which exposes the possible risks from wireless technologies and EMF. According to the report, “for emissions from wireless devices (cell phones, personal digital assistant or PDA devices, etc) there is enough evidence for increased risk of brain tumors and acoustic neuromas now to warrant intervention with respect to their use.” The report strongly advocates a precautionary approach to EMF exposure due to the fact that many of the health effects of EMF are still unknown. It recommends “that wired alternatives to WIFI be implemented, particularly in schools and libraries so that children are not subjected to elevated RF levels until more is understood about possible health impacts.” 6
While other countries and municipalities are putting in new laws and guidance to limit EMF exposure, the U.S. NHTSA is working hard on new regulations that will make it mandatory for everyone in a vehicle or near a road to be exposed to EMF radiation. If these regulations go into effect, our roadways will become a congested soup of electro-smog and ever-increasing EMF radiation. Anyone who spends time in a vehicle will be forced to endure exposure to the V2V technology’s radiation from the cars around them, whether they want to or not. There will be no opt-out on this one.
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Sources and References
- U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Decision to Move Forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology for Light Vehicles – Feb 3, 2014 Press Release, NHTSA ↩
- Ibid ↩
- Alliance Statement on NHTSA Announcement Regarding Vehicle to Vehicle Communications – Feb 3, 2014 Press Release, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers ↩
- Le wi-fi inquiète les bibliothèques (original article in French) – Marie-Anne Gairaud, May 14, 2008, Le Parisien ↩
- La loi sur les ondes électromagnétiques en 5 questions (original article in French) – Audrey Garric and Pierre Le Hir, Le Monde.fr ↩
- BioInitiative 2012 Report – Bioinitiative.org ↩