Fatal Crash at Triple the Posted Speed Prompts NTSB to Renew Call for Car Speed-Limiter Technology

Fatal Crash at Triple the Posted Speed Prompts NTSB to Renew Call for Car Speed-Limiter Technology

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has once again recommended measures to reduce speeding on US roads following its investigation into a three-vehicle accident in Las Vegas in January 2022. The NTSB’s mandate is to investigate vehicle accidents and issue recommendations to other agencies, such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), to improve road safety. While the NTSB cannot create new laws, it can advise the agencies responsible for legislation.

This is the third time since 2017 that the NTSB has proposed new measures to combat speeding both inside and outside vehicles. In 2017, the NTSB recommended updating speed camera guidelines to reflect the latest automated speed enforcement technologies and assessing the effectiveness of point-to-point speed enforcement in the US. In 2022, the NTSB urged the NHTSA to encourage vehicle manufacturers and consumers to adopt intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) systems to prevent speed-related crashes.

The Las Vegas crash involved a driver of a Dodge Charger who was traveling at 103 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone, ran a red light, and collided with a minivan. The accident resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries, making it the deadliest wreck in Nevada in 30 years. The driver was later found to be under the influence of drugs.

The NTSB’s comprehensive approach to tackle speeding includes installing intelligent speed assistance technology (ISA) in new vehicles, which would provide drivers with passive warnings or actively reduce the vehicle’s speed to match the posted limit. The approach also involves conducting educational campaigns, implementing stricter punishments for repeat speeding offenders, and making ISA technology adoption part of the New Car Assessment Program. Additionally, the NTSB requested the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to study the impact of automotive marketing ads that may encourage speeding.

Despite the NTSB’s recommendations, widespread adoption of these measures has yet to occur. NTSB head Jennifer Homendy emphasized the importance of taking action, stating that speeding and impairment continue to lead to catastrophic accidents. The agency reported that approximately one-third of vehicle crash fatalities in 2021 were related to speeding.

Some cities, such as New York City, have begun experimenting with ISA technology by installing it in government fleets. New York City has equipped at least 50 government vehicles across nine agencies with ISA systems. In response to the successful pilot program, a New York State legislator introduced a bill to mandate ISA technology in cars manufactured after January 1, 2024. The mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, expressed optimism about the pilot program, citing a 36% reduction in hard braking and 99% compliance with speed limits among fleet vehicle operators.

In conclusion, the NTSB’s investigation into the Las Vegas crash has prompted renewed recommendations to address speeding on US roads. The agency advocates for the adoption of ISA technology, educational campaigns, stricter punishments for repeat offenders, and the inclusion of ISA technology in vehicle safety ratings. While some progress has been made in implementing these measures, broader action is still needed to reduce speeding-related accidents and fatalities.