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The NTSB urged 17 automakers to install intelligent speed-assistance technology in all new vehicles that, at a minimum, warn a driver when the vehicle is speeding.
The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) is an independent review agency in the federal government. They’re the group that get called when a plane crashes or a train goes off the rails, or, in this particular case, when a speeding car crashes into a minivan in North Las Vegas and nine people die from this one wreck alone, as happened in 2022. After reviewing that wreck, the NTSB recommends that our cars warn us, inhibit us, or prevent us from speeding.
The NTSB said on Tuesday that the 2022 North Las Vegas crash “highlights [the] need for intelligent speed assistance technology and countermeasures including interlock program for repeat speeding offenders.” What is intelligent speed assistance technology? Here is the clarification, direct from the NTSB press release:
Intelligent speed assistance technology, or ISA, uses a car’s GPS location compared with a database of posted speed limits and its onboard cameras to help ensure safe and legal speeds. Passive ISA systems warn a driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit through visual, sound, or haptic alerts, and the driver is responsible for slowing the car. Active systems include mechanisms that make it more difficult, but not impossible, to increase the speed of a vehicle above the posted speed limit and those that electronically limit the speed of the vehicle to fully prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit.
It is not the NTSB’s role to make laws or create mandates. It is not a policy-making body. It is an agency that reviews transportation disasters, figures out how they happened, and makes recommendations on how to keep them from happening.
The wreck that spurred this recommendation was particularly egregious but little about it sounds surprising. As the NTSB report notes, a driver and passenger in a 2018 Dodge Challenger ran a red light at 103 mph, hitting a Toyota Sienna with seven people inside. The light had been red for 29 seconds. All nine people died. However, what is not in their case but was reported in news outlets is that this driver was high on cocaine & PCP, and he was a danger to himself and others.
As the NTSB notes, some 12,330 people died in speeding-related crashes in 2021 alone, roughly a third of all traffic deaths in the U.S. What is abundantly clear is that something needs to change, and we all know that relying on cops to pull people over isn’t working for anybody.
As a result of the investigation, the NTSB is issuing eight new and one reiterated recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one new recommendation to states, and one new recommendation to manufacturers:
Require ISA systems that, at a minimum, warn a driver a vehicle is speeding.
Educate the public about the benefits of ISA.
Update the guidelines for state highway safety programs to include identification and tracking of repeat speeding offenders.
Develop countermeasures to reduce repeat speeding offenses.
Conduct research and develop guidelines to assist states in implementing ISA interlock programs for repeat speeding offenders.
Incentivize the adoption of ISA through, for example, the New Car Assessment Program. This recommendation is reiterated from a 2017 recommendation.
To 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia:
Implement programs to identify repeat speeding offenders and measurably reduce speeding recidivism.
To 17 car manufacturers, NTSB is asking for:
Install ISA in all new passenger vehicles that, at a minimum, warn drivers when a vehicle is speeding.
To the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety:
Evaluate the safety outcomes of marketing by auto manufacturers that emphasize risky behavior, including speeding. The evaluation should compare vehicles based on engine size, power and performance, and international approaches to marketing. Make the report publicly available.
Seriously let’s make cars slower? Here is a crazy idea. Let’s make driver’s license requirements more stringent with actual drivers training. As a long-time Tire Rack Street Survival Instructor, we know what the solution is. Slower cars will not stop accidents. Better driving does.
Add this to the kill switch, and the government and depart of transportation will control all your driving. Here is a better idea: teach people to be better and safer drivers.
Lauren Fix is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted automotive expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics, energy and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.
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