Safety Organizations Call for Speed-Limiting Tech to Tackle Rising Traffic Fatalities

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found speeding causes more than 25% of road fatalities every year, including more than 12,000 in 2021 alone.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in partnership with the Road to Zero Coalition, is advocating for the widespread adoption of intelligent speed assistance (ISA) and speed limiters in vehicles to combat the significant rise in traffic deaths since 2020, attributed to speeding.

“Speeding causes more than a quarter of all crash deaths every year, accounting for more than 12,000 lost lives in 2021,” said Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS. This alarming statistic underscores the urgency of finding effective solutions to control vehicle speeds and enhance road safety.

ISA technology, which includes a camera to read posted speed signs and GPS mapping to determine the speed limit, alerts drivers when they exceed these limits. Some systems take a more assertive approach by decreasing engine power once the vehicle crosses the speed threshold.

For general U.S. drivers, the coalition's Accelerating Technology Working Group recommends the implementation of advisory ISA systems. These systems, which will be mandatory in the European Union for all new vehicles starting in 2024, serve as a warning mechanism for drivers. For commercial and public fleet operators, the coalition advises the promotion of either ISA or speed limiters, which cap the maximum speed of a vehicle.

The coalition, led by the National Safety Council and including various industry associations and safety organizations, aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2050. Their recommendations align with those of the National Transportation Safety Board, which urges the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to establish performance standards for ISA technology. This includes mandatory equipment of all new vehicles with ISA and incorporating an ISA evaluation into the New Car Assessment Program.

Particularly targeting high-risk groups such as repeat speeding offenders and teen drivers, the coalition suggests the use of aftermarket ISA systems that limit engine power. Smartphone apps and in-vehicle systems could also be employed to warn drivers, especially teens, when they exceed preset speeds.

More details about these recommendations will be unveiled in an upcoming webinar Jan. 23, as part of the Road to Zero Coalition's ongoing efforts to enhance road safety and reduce traffic-related fatalities.

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