Further development of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems and the widespread rollout of driver-assist in-car technologies could prevent four out of five crashes, according to the US government’s safety regulator.

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The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) David Strickland said his agency was currently working with vehicle manufacturers and other government departments to speed up the mainstream adoption of features like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning systems.

Strickland believes technology that allows vehicles to recognise and interact with each other could cut the number of crashes by 80 per cent, likely leading to a dramatic decrease in the road toll.

The Detroit Free Press reported Strickland said a study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute currently investigating a number of innovative vehicle communication systems would influence the NHTSA’s future policy.

The NHTSA echoes the ambitions of Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) CEO Nicholas Clarke, who last month said continued structural improvements and the proliferation of safety assist technologies (SATs) in new vehicles could cut Australia’s road toll by 75 per cent by 2030.

Both groups agree that the best way to reduce deaths on the road is to prevent crashes from happening in the first place, and that SATs have a significant role to play achieving that end.

Strickland also confirmed the NHTSA is close to finalising regulations relating to rear visibility in passenger vehicles and is continuing development of an in-car system to prevent drunk people from driving.