NTSB Calls for Speed Control Tech in New Cars After Fatal Crash

NTSB-speed-assistance-new-cars-investigation-recommendation
A 2018 Dodge Challenger after its driver ran a red light at 103 mph, causing it to strike a minivan.

The board's investigation into the crash in Las Vegas in January 2022, which killed nine people, found speeding and driver impairment were the main factors.

A recent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) into a catastrophic multi-vehicle collision in North Las Vegas, NV, has prompted the board to advocate for the mandatory inclusion of intelligent speed assistance (ISA) technology in all new cars. 

This recommendation follows an incident on Jan. 29, 2022, when a Dodge Challenger, traveling at 103 mph and driven by a cocaine and PCP-impaired driver with a history of speeding offenses, plowed into other vehicles. The collision resulted in the deaths of the Challenger’s occupants and seven others.

ISA technology, employing GPS and onboard cameras, assists drivers in adhering to speed limits, offering both passive warnings and active speed limiting capabilities. Passive systems alert drivers when they exceed speed limits, while active systems can physically restrict a vehicle's speed.

"This crash is the latest in a long line of tragedies we’ve investigated where speeding and impairment led to catastrophe, but it doesn’t have to be this way," said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy, underscoring the importance of redundancy in safety measures to counteract human error on roads.

The urgency of addressing speeding is highlighted by alarming statistics: In 2021, approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. were related to speeding. Beyond advocating for ISA technology, the NTSB has also called for revised speed limit regulations, increased use of speed safety cameras, and enhanced data and law enforcement to combat drug-impaired driving.

In response to their findings, the NTSB has issued several recommendations. These include requiring ISA systems in new vehicles, public education about ISA benefits, updating guidelines for tracking repeat speed offenders, developing countermeasures against repeat offenses, and promoting ISA adoption through incentives.

Additionally, the NTSB has advised all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico to implement programs targeting repeat speeding offenders. Car manufacturers are urged to install ISA in new passenger vehicles, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is tasked with evaluating the impact of auto manufacturers' marketing on risky driving behaviors.

The complete findings and recommendations from the investigation will be available on the NTSB’s website, along with a public docket containing extensive investigative details.

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