Automotive leaders call for preserving safety spectrum for transportation safety critical communications

Jan. 15, 2020

Top officials with the U.S. DOT along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) joined the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) this week to stress the importance of preserving the entire 5.9GHz ‘safety spectrum’ band for life-saving vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies.

ITS America hosted the event, during the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting, with a broad group of stakeholders committed to reducing fatalities on U.S. roadways. Late last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its plans to give away more than half of the 5.9GHz band, which is designated for transportation safety critical communications, to unlicensed devices.

“Rarely has there been a traffic safety technology with as much potential to save lives as vehicle-to-everything technology,” Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens said in a statement. “V2X holds the promise to save lives, improve transportation efficiency, and change the way we drive, walk, and bike. We must preserve the Safety Band for transportation innovation so we can save lives, protect vulnerable road users, and support the development of autonomous vehicles.”

“With more than 36,000 traffic fatalities a year on our nation’s highways, it is imperative that we preserve the 5.9 GHz safety band that supports the deployment of critical life-saving V2X technologies that can greatly reduce those fatalities,” AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon said in a statement. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with U.S. DOT, the automakers and the rest of the transportation community to make this happen.”

“We cannot allow the FCC to give away our top safety tool in the fight against this epidemic of roadway fatalities,” ITS President & CEO Shailen Bhatt said in a statement. “Now is the time to mobilize everyone who cares about safety and send a message that saving lives must be the priority.”