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ITS America Statement on Rubio-Booker 5.9 GHz Spectrum Legislation

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ashley Simmons
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ITS America Statement on Rubio-Booker 5.9 GHz Spectrum Legislation

Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2014) – Scott F. Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), today released the following statement in response to legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) that would set deadlines on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for developing and publishing a test plan for the use of unlicensed devices in the 5.9 GHz band:

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults in the United States, with an annual death toll of 33,000 and over 2.3 million people injured on our nation’s roadways. That means by the end of today, 90 daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, friends and loved ones who we said goodbye to this morning won’t be coming home tonight. This has been a tragic reality for far too long.

Thanks to the strong commitment by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and automotive visionaries, and years of investment by innovators and American taxpayers, ‘talking cars’ that avoid crashes are well on the way to becoming a reality. The U.S. DOT announced in February that it will begin a rulemaking process to deploy vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology in new cars and light trucks utilizing the 5.9 GHz band of spectrum set aside by the FCC for V2V communication.

Earlier this week in testimony before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, U.S. DOT Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Gregory D. Winfree said, “We have very serious concerns about any spectrum sharing that prevents or delays access to the desired channel, or otherwise preempts the safety applications. At this time, the Department is unaware of any existing or proposed technical solution which guarantees interference free operation of the DSRC safety critical applications while allowing Wi-Fi enabled devices to share the 5.9 GHz spectrum.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that V2V communication could prevent or reduce the impact of 4 out of 5 unimpaired vehicle crashes, saving thousands of lives each year and dramatically reducing the $871 billion annual cost of crashes to the nation’s economy. This connected vehicle safety technology truly represents the next giant leap in saving lives on America’s roadways by preventing crashes before they happen.

ITS America supports the collaborative effort, which is already underway, to explore whether a technical solution exists that would allow Wi-Fi devices to operate in the 5.9 GHz band without interfering with these critical safety applications. But this process should be allowed to proceed without arbitrary deadlines, restrictive parameters or political pressure that could influence the outcome.

We look forward to continuing to work with Senators Rubio and Booker, as well as the FCC and key stakeholders, to explore whether a technical solution can be developed and tested that will allow for spectrum sharing in the 5.9 GHz band without compromising safety.


The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to advancing the research, development and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to improve the nation’s surface transportation network. To learn more about ITS America visit www.itsa.org and follow us on Twitter @ITS_America.



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