NTSB Report: Speeding is Top Highway Risk
August 08, 2017

Pete Goldin

In July, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a synopsis of a new safety study entitled Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles.

The document states: "Speeding — exceeding a speed limit or driving too fast for conditions — is one of the most common factors in motor vehicle crashes in the United States."

During the study, NTSB found that speeding increases the likelihood of being involved in a crash, and it increases the severity of injuries sustained by all road users in a crash.

From an ITS perspective, NTSB also found that vehicle technologies can be effective at reducing speeding. The report synopsis states: "Intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) uses an onboard global positioning system or road sign-detecting camera to determine the speed limit; it then warns drivers when they exceed the speed limit, or prevents drivers from exceeding the speed limit by electronically limiting the speed of the vehicle. Although passenger vehicle manufacturers are increasingly equipping their vehicles with technologies relevant to speeding, these technologies often are not standard features and require the purchase of certain option packages. New car safety rating systems are one effective way to incentivize the manufacture and purchase of passenger vehicles with advanced safety systems such as ISA."

The report also states: "Automated speed enforcement (ASE) is also widely acknowledged as an effective countermeasure to reduce speeding-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries. However, only 14 states and the District of Columbia use it. Many states have laws that prohibit or place operational restrictions on ASE, and federal guidelines for ASE are outdated and not well known among ASE program administrators. Point-to-point enforcement, which is based on the average speed of a vehicle between two points, can be used on roadway segments many miles long. This type of ASE has had recent success in other countries, but it is not currently used in the United States."

The report goes on to recommend to that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) "incentivize passenger vehicle manufacturers and consumers to adopt intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) systems by, for example, including ISA in the New Car Assessment Program."

In addition the report recommends that the Federal Highway Administration Federal Highway Administration work with NHTSA to update ASE guidelines and assess the effectiveness of point-to-point speed enforcement in the US.

A statement from ITS America reads: "As a nation, we can make our transportation system safer. Consider this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2016, more than 35,000 people died in vehicle crashes, a 7.2% increase since 2015 and the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. The estimated number of people injured on the Nation’s roads increased in 2015, rising from 2.34 million to 2.44 million injured people.

"ITS America is particularly pleased that the benefits of Intelligent Transportation technologies — specifically, intelligent speed adaptation — were highlighted among the NTSB’s recommendations to government agencies and law enforcement agencies on how to reduce the number of speed-related accidents and make our roads safer. ITS America's Public Policy Roadmap 2017 outlines a number of ways our roads and highways can be made safer with intelligent transportation, which ultimately will reduce the number of people killed.

"New vehicle technology such as connected and autonomous crash avoidance and driving automation systems are game changers. Next generation driver-vehicle interfaces, such as artificial intelligence-based natural language processing can ensure drivers can retrieve critical traffic, weather, navigation and dispatch information they need, without distracting from the critical task of driving. Advanced traffic management infrastructure and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications can smooth traffic flow as well as reduce pollution and crashes."