IIHS Survey: Speed Warnings ‘Acceptable’

By Staff Writer June 13, 2024

More than 60% of drivers would find it acceptable if their vehicle provided an audible and visual warning when they exceeded the posted speed limit, a new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows.

Perhaps more surprisingly, about half of drivers say they wouldn’t mind vehicle technology that makes the accelerator pedal harder to press or automatically restricts speed.

“These findings are exciting because they suggest American drivers are willing to change how they drive to make our roads safer,” IIHS President David Harkey said. “The conventional wisdom has always been that speed-restricting technology would never fly in our car-centric culture.”

In 2022, the latest year for which numbers are available, speed-related crashes caused more than 12,000 deaths. Yet about half of drivers admit to driving at least 15 mph over the limit in the past month, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“With the technologies we have now, we could stop virtually all speeding and eliminate speeding tickets to boot,” said IIHS Senior Research Scientist Ian Reagan, who designed the survey about intelligent speed assistance (ISA). “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.”

ISA systems use GPS and a speed limit database, sometimes together with cameras capable of reading posted signs, to identify and adapt to the actual speed limit. More robust ISA systems sound a warning or flash an alert when the driver exceeds the limit — or when they exceed it by more than a specific amount. Others provide accelerator feedback — making the pedal harder to push — or restrict power to the engine to prevent the driver from going too fast.

To gain more insight into how American drivers would feel about ISA, Reagan conducted a survey of 1,802 drivers. The survey measured whether respondents would find the technology acceptable.

Regardless of group, more than 80% of all drivers agreed or strongly agreed that they would want a feature that displayed the current speed limit. More than 70% of all drivers also agreed or strongly agreed that they would want an unobtrusive tone to sound when the speed limit changes.

There was a clear preference for advisory systems over those that intervene to control the vehicle’s speed, however.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 18 June 2024 20:15