US calls for control of car speed

The idea of capping the speed of cars is back on the agenda in the United States.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the nation's key authority on air, sea train and road safety, has called for technology to reduce speeds to be fitted to all new cars.

The US – like Australia – faces an epidemic of road crashes at a time when our cars and roads are supposed to be safer than ever. 274 Australians have lost their lives on our roads so far this year. 

The NTSB recently undertook a full crash investigation of an incident in which a car travelling at more than 160km/h slammed into a minivan with the loss of nine lives.

It says that in 2021 more than 12,000 people died in speed related crashes across the US.

The NTSB wants Intelligence Speed Assistance (ISA) introduced that make speeding more difficult, but not impossible.

ISA is on the agenda for Australia and is already in use in a number of European countries. 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 versions of the technology sound alerts to warn drivers when speed exceeds a certain setting; active versions can electronically prevent vehicles from exceeding the speed limit.

The NTSB is recommending the use of an ISA interlock to be used for repeat speeding offenders.

Among its recommendations:

  • 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 counter measures to reduce repeat speeding offences
  • Conduct research and develop guidelines to assist states to implement ISA interlock programs for repeat speeding offenders.

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