Survey Indicates Drivers Would Accept Anti-Speeding Technology In Vehicles

Speeding is a contributing factor in more than 25% of automobile accidents, and existing technology could be implemented in new vehicles to limit speeds or notify drivers when over the speed limit

New research suggests that more than half of drivers would accept new technology in their vehicles that alerts them of when they exceed speed limits, or even limits how fast their vehicles can go, if it could help lower insurance premiums and reduce the risk of injuries on U.S. highways.

Speeding is a major cause of deaths nationwide, contributing to over a quarter of all traffic fatalities. In 2022, this resulted in more than 12,000 deaths. Despite the known risks associated with speeding, about half of drivers admit to exceeding the speed limit by at least 15 mph in the past month, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

On June 12, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released the results of a survey of American drivers’ opinions designed by Senior Research Scientist Ian Reagan, asking about the dangers of speeding, technology effectiveness, and their driving behavior.

Researchers found that most U.S. drivers were willing to accept speed-limiting technology in their vehicles, known as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), which uses GPS, speed limit databases, and cameras to determine speed limits where a vehicle is traveling. Apps like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze already display local speed limits using basic ISA technology, with Waze offering additional ISA features.

Existing technology could be added to new vehicles using advanced ISA systems to alert drivers when they exceed speed limits, through sounds or flashing lights, provide feedback by making the accelerator harder to press, or limit engine power to prevent speeding. Although the features could save lives, most vehicles do not currently contain the technology.

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Reagan surveyed 1,802 drivers, dividing them into three groups: one asked about advisory ISA, another about accelerator feedback ISA, and a third about ISA that restricts acceleration when speeding.

The survey measured “acceptability,” reflecting whether respondents would want to use ISA features. Results showed 64% of the advisory group, 50% of the accelerator feedback group, and 52% of the restricted acceleration group found ISA acceptable. Over 80% of all drivers wanted a feature displaying the current speed limit, and more than 70% wanted an unobtrusive tone when speed limits change.

However, drivers seemed to prefer advisory systems over those controlling vehicle speed. Nearly 60% of the advisory group found automatic ISA activation acceptable, compared to 51% of the accelerator feedback group and 48% of the restricted acceleration group. Additionally, 65% of the advisory group, 51% of the accelerator feedback group, and 52% of the restricted acceleration group wanted ISA in their next car if it became common.

About 70% of all drivers would want ISA if it lowered insurance premiums, and acceptability increased across all groups if ISA intervened at 10 mph over the limit instead of 1-2 mph.

The survey indicated that frequent speeders were 20% less likely to accept ISA than occasional or rare speeders, though both groups were equally likely to keep it on if installed.  About half of the drivers in the accelerator-feedback and speed-limiter groups said they would often override the feature. This indicates frequent speeders may see the benefit but have mixed feelings, the researchers noted.

““We can no longer pretend this is an unsolvable problem,” Reagan said in an IIHS press release. “With the technologies we have now, we could stop virtually all speeding and eliminate speeding tickets to boot. Instead, we seem to be going the opposite direction, with adaptive cruise control and partial automation systems that allow drivers to peg their speed at 90 mph if they want.”

Accident Avoidance Technology

ISA technology is just one of several proposed approaches to reducing traffic fatalities. In 2020, the IIHS released a study analyzing how effective forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) could be in preventing large truck crashes; which often result in serious injuries and fatalities due to their size and weight.

FCW systems were associated with a 22% reduction in police-reportable crashes per vehicle mile and a 44% reduction in rear-end accidents for large trucks. AEB systems resulted in a 12% overall reduction in police-reportable crashes per vehicle mile and a 41% decrease in rear-end crashes.

Additionally, another study conducted in 2020 found that speed reduction programs have the potential to reduce traffic accident deaths by more than 20%, and could decrease the severity of injuries sustained in crashes nationwide. The study involved 1.4 million trip observations, before and after the speed limit was reversed, and found that over a period of 18 months, accidents decreased by 21.7% on roads affected by the policy, averaging nearly 2,000 accidents and 104 fatalities averted.

Earlier this year, the U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the new AEB Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard , which will make AEB and pedestrian AEB (PAEB) required on all passenger cars and light trucks. With AEB technology having been available for some time and with the advancements in today’s technology, federal safety officials estimate this new standard will save a minimum of 360 lives and prevent around 24,000 injuries annually, thus making roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians.

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