Are American Drivers Ready for Mandatory Speed Reduction Tech in New Cars?
Following a tragic accident in Las Vegas, where several lives were lost due to speeding, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mandate the use of intelligent speed-assist technology (ISA) in all new vehicles. While this technology has already been implemented in Europe, the question remains: are American drivers prepared?
The Need for Speed Reduction Tech
The NTSB’s call for mandatory ISA technology in new vehicles stems from the investigation of a fatal crash caused by a driver under the influence of drugs, who was also a repeat speed limit violator. The agency believes that ISA technology could have prevented this tragedy by limiting the vehicle’s speed. According to recent NHTSA data, nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States are a result of speeding.
How ISA Technology Works
ISA technology utilizes a car’s GPS location and matches it with a database of posted speed limits. This information, combined with onboard cameras, helps determine the legal speed limit. There are two types of ISA systems: passive and active. Passive systems warn drivers when they exceed the speed limit through various alerts, leaving the responsibility of slowing down to the driver. Active systems, on the other hand, make it more difficult to increase the speed or even fully limit the vehicle from exceeding the speed limit.
Concerns and Resistance
While the implementation of ISA technology may seem like a straightforward solution to curb speeding, it is not without its challenges. Some Americans may resist the idea of an active ISA system, as it may be perceived as a limitation on their freedom of movement. Additionally, there is a general distrust of government interference and regulation among many Americans, leading to concerns about potential government overreach. Some skeptics argue that ISA technology could hinder emergency situations that require quick getaways.
The European Precedent
Europe has already mandated ISA technology in all new vehicles as of 2022. The European Commission’s Vehicle General Safety Regulation (GSR) requires vehicles to have 90% accuracy for ISA systems. This regulation also includes other mandatory advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as emergency automated braking and lane assistance technology.
In response to the NTSB’s investigation, automakers like BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, and VW have been asked to equip new vehicles with speed-assistance features. While the NTSB recommends a minimum speed warning system, they would likely support more robust action from automakers.
The Road Ahead
The NTSB has been advocating for the adoption of ISA technology for several years. They have asked the NHTSA to incentivize its adoption through a New Car Assessment Program and have also recommended that the NHTSA research and develop guidelines for implementing a pilot ISA program for repeat offenders. New York has already conducted a pilot program and is considering legislation to implement this technology.
While the NHTSA is currently reviewing public comments on the matter, a final decision is expected to be made in 2023. In the meantime, the debate over mandatory speed reduction tech in new cars continues.
Overall, the implementation of ISA technology could potentially save lives and reduce traffic-related fatalities caused by speeding. However, it remains to be seen whether American drivers are ready to embrace this technology and accept the necessary trade-off between personal freedom and public safety.