Michigan partnering with colleges, manufacturers to make roads safer

Published 9:19 am Thursday, January 21, 2016

Even though today’s vehicles are the safest ever built, the fact remains that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children in America.

The good news is that Michigan is at the forefront of a technological innovation that could substantially improve safety on our roads.

The state has partnered with our universities and manufacturers to lead the way in collision avoidance technologies — installing more connected vehicle infrastructure than all the other states combined.

For example, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is working with General Motors, Ford and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute to deploy vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology on more than 120 miles of Metro Detroit roadways.

Connected car technology will enable vehicles to communicate with each other and the road. It is the next step in saving lives by preventing crashes in the first place.

Ten automobile manufacturers recently pledged to voluntarily include collision avoidance technology in their cars as standard equipment. In less than a decade, roughly half of all the cars on the road will feature the technology.

Collision avoidance technology has the potential to cut in half the number of car accidents.

Michigan is the national leader in developing, testing and implementing these systems, which are able to warn the driver of an imminent collision or even brake the car itself.

According to MDOT, Michigan colleges and universities graduate more than 6,000 engineers and technicians each year, and nearly 75 percent of automotive research and development funding spent in the U.S. is done in Michigan.

The idea that your car will be smart enough to protect you from harm is no longer science fiction, and Michigan’s skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing workers are playing a pivotal role in making it a reality.


Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents Southwest Michigan.