New Technology Promises Safer Roads: Mandatory Speed Limiters in Cars

A tragic high-speed crash in Las Vegas has highlighted the need for enhanced road safety measures. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the leading body for road crash investigations in the US, has urged car manufacturers to install speed-limiting devices in new models. This recommendation comes after a number of fatal incidents caused by excessive speeding.

The NTSB’s call for action follows the conclusion of their investigation into a January 2022 crash that claimed the lives of nine road users. The incident was caused by a Dodge Challenger driver who was under the influence of drugs and ran a red light at a staggering speed of 165km/h. The collision resulted in the deaths of the vehicle’s occupants as well as all seven people inside the van.

To address this issue, the NTSB is pushing for the implementation of “intelligent speed assistance technology” (ISA) in new cars. ISA systems act as a warning to drivers when they exceed the posted speed limit. In Europe, ISA has already been implemented and will be mandatory in all new cars sold starting from July 2024. However, the US and Australia have yet to adopt these regulations.

It is important to note that ISA systems do not physically reduce the speed of a car. On the other hand, several modern vehicles already utilize speed limiters, which automatically limit the vehicle’s throttle inputs once the driver-set limit is reached.

While the NTSB lacks the authority to introduce safety regulations, they have sent a letter of recommendation to 17 prominent car manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda. The responsibility for implementing such regulations lies with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is currently reviewing the NTSB’s suggestions.

The call for mandatory speed limiters has received mixed responses. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI), an industry lobby group representing major car manufacturers, expressed support for implementing speed limiters but emphasized the importance of other measures to reduce road accidents. This includes a focus on driver education, strong laws and law enforcement, and infrastructure investment.

It remains to be seen whether the implementation of ISA systems and speed limiters will become mandatory in the US. However, the NTSB’s recommendation serves as a reminder of the pressing need for innovative technologies and comprehensive safety measures to make our roads safer for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is intelligent speed assistance technology (ISA)?

    Intelligent speed assistance technology (ISA) is designed to warn drivers when they exceed the posted speed limit. It utilizes cameras that read speed signs and GPS technology to determine the applicable speed limit.

  2. How do speed limiters work?

    Speed limiters are devices installed in vehicles that automatically reduce throttle inputs once the driver-set speed limit is reached. This helps prevent the vehicle from exceeding the desired speed limit.

  3. Why are speed limiters important?

    Speed limiters are important because they can effectively mitigate the risks associated with excessive speeding. By limiting a vehicle’s top speed, they help improve overall road safety and reduce the severity of accidents.

  4. When will intelligent speed assistance technology become mandatory in Europe?

    Intelligent speed assistance technology will become mandatory in all new cars sold in Europe starting from July 2024.