The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is once again toying with a speed limiter idea after its investigation into a multi-vehicle collision that transpired last year in North Las Vegas, Nevada, which resulted in nine fatalities. The board recommends implementing intelligent speed assistance technology in all new cars. This comes after the board determined the crash was caused by excessive speed, drug-impaired driving, and Nevada’s failure to deter the driver despite being a repeat offender.
With Is Intelligent Speed Assistance Technology?
This Intelligent Speed Assistance Technology (ISA) utilizes a car’s GPS location compared with a database of posted speed limits and its onboard cameras to ensure vehicles maintain “safe” and legal speeds. Passive ISA systems warn a driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit through visual, sound, or haptic alerts, but the driver is still responsible for slowing the car. On the other hand, active systems include mechanisms that make it more difficult, but not impossible, to increase the speed of a vehicle above the posted speed limit and those that electronically limit the speed of the vehicle to entirely prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit. New York is even experimenting with an ISA system
It’s not just speed limiters. Vehicle-disabling “impairment detection devices” are going to be mandated in all new vehicles on the road in the United States by 2026. And it seems that just about every level of freedom, which is the whole point of personal transportation, is being constricted into a soulless tool that could soon be too expensive for most economic classes to afford. Always, it’s in the name of “safety.” But, also always, these automotive regulations are never done in a way that empowers or demands more from the individual. This is especially true when considering how watered-down America’s driver’s education and ease of getting license is compared to other parts of the developed world, where crashes and pedestrian fatalities are way down compared to here.
That said, various European countries that are leaders in safety culture have already moved to implement the ISA system into its cars. It might take some car culture pushback to slow down where things are headed, though it’s possible that some automakers will offer drivers the option, as seen with stop/start and buckle-to-drive, to simply turn the ISA system off.