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ISA in the USA; nine-death crash prompts push for speed limiters

A leading US safety regulator has taken the radical step of recommending speed limiting technology become mandatory in vehicles following a single crash that killed nine people.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the multi-vehicle collision in Las Vegas in 2022 and made the recommendation to prevent further such crashes.

Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) uses GPS to alert the driver of the current speed limit in that location. It can use databases of posted speed limits and onboard cameras.

The systems range from the Passive where they can make visual or audio warnings to the driver to Active systems  that include mechanisms that make it more difficult to increase the speed of a vehicle above the posted speed limit or even actively and gradually slow the car.

Some of the key differences in the application of the technology is whether it operates atomically when the car is in operation or whether, like some older technology, must be activated by the driver.

The EU adopted legislation making the technology mandatory in all new cars from 2022 and though many new cars in Australia come equipped with the technology there is no laws mandating their inclusion.

In the Las Vegas Crash, excessive speed and drug-impaired driving were determined to be factors that led to the crash in the Las Vegas crash.

The US currently has a death toll on the roads about three times Australia, per capita. The UK and most Eu countries have lower death rates.

The US safety bureau found in the crash that killed nine people that a 2018 Dodge Challenger entered an intersection against a red traffic signal with a vehicle-recorded speed of 103 mph, causing a collision with five other vehicles.

Seven occupants of a minivan and the Challenger’s occupants died. The driver of the Challenger was impaired by cocaine and PCP at the time of the collision and had a history of multiple speeding offenses, according to the NTSB.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy told the media Nevada’s failure to deter the driver’s speeding recidivism despite numerous speeding citations played a part in the crash as well.

“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,”

“We know the key to saving lives is redundancy, which can protect all of us from human error that occurs on our roads. What we lack is the collective will to act on NTSB safety recommendations.”

It was also reported the NTSB hopes to eliminate speeding through the implementation of a comprehensive strategy. “Speed-limiters on large trucks, automated enforcement, expert speed analysis tools, and education campaigns are underused in our communities,” NTSB says on its website.

“These critical tools and strategies must be implemented to address this safety problem.”

Speeding-related crashes resulted in 12,330 fatalities in 2021, which was nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S., according to the NTSB.

READ MORE: Could speed technology lower the road toll?

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