CVSA Urges FCC to Continue to Reserve Vital Airwaves for V2X Technologies

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) supports the use and cultivation of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology applications, which help prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is prepared to give away the spectrum required to support this technology. CVSA urges the FCC to keep this spectrum working for transportation safety by continuing to preserve it for V2X technologies.

V2X collectively refers to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) and vehicle-to-enforcement (V2E) communications. V2X technologies use spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band, which is currently reserved for transportation safety communications. However, despite its promise and potential, the FCC is considering giving away the majority of these vital airwaves to the Wi-Fi industry, which threatens the progress, stability and reliability of V2X technologies.

Expert analysis determined that the FCC’s proposal does not leave enough spectrum for V2X technologies and would likely result in significant interference for V2X technologies operating in the remaining spectrum. Because of this, CVSA, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the U.S. Department of Transportation, every state department of transportation, and road safety and public safety advocates are united in opposing the FCC’s proposal to give away most of the 5.9 GHz “safety band” spectrum.

CVSA submitted comments to the FCC (Docket Number: FCC 19-129) on March 9 and April 24, 2020, opposing any action to reallocate spectrum away from transportation communications without clear evidence that such an action would not negatively impact present and future V2X capabilities. In our comments, the Alliance states that the FCC should keep the current 75 MHz allocation for transportation communications in the 5.9 GHz band, fostering the potential and functionality of V2X technologies.

V2X technology allows instantaneous communication between road users, alerting drivers to potential threats, obstacles and vulnerable road users. It also enables or supports numerous safety features that help prevent crashes, such as collision avoidance, emergency response priority, pedestrian-in-crosswalk notification, red light warnings, roadway safety alerts, work zone warnings, reduced speed zone warnings and weather impact warnings. Furthermore, V2E technologies would allow law enforcement to better identify and prioritize unsafe commercial motor vehicles and drivers for intervention, taking unfit vehicles and operators off the roads.

“Each year, far too many lives are lost in traffic crashes on U.S. roadways,” said CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney. “Many of these lives could be saved through the use of safety technologies, such as connected vehicle technologies.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2017, there were more than 6 million police-reported vehicle crashes that resulted in 37,133 fatalities and 2,746,000 injuries. More than 450,000 of those crashes involved commercial motor vehicles which resulted in 4,761 lives lost. These crashes also caused economic harm – approximately $250 billion in direct costs and more than $800 billion when the loss of life, injuries and other quality of life factors are put into dollars. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that V2X applications could reduce the frequency and severity of (unimpaired) motor vehicle crashes by up to 80%.

“Each crash on our roadways is associated with real-world costs – physical, emotional and financial – for the loved ones of those who are killed or injured,” added Mooney. “Working to prevent such loss is an important priority to CVSA and should be a top priority of federal policymakers.”

He continued, “We should fully deploy V2X technologies to significantly reduce traffic deaths and injuries in our communities. When our families are on our roads, we want to know that every tool available is being employed to keep them safe.”

CVSA is a nonprofit association comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal commercial motor vehicle safety officials and industry representatives. The Alliance aims to achieve uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial motor vehicle inspections and enforcement by certified inspectors dedicated to driver and vehicle safety. Its mission is to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and uniformity throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States by providing guidance and education to enforcement, industry and policy makers.