Speeding kills. It’s consistently a factor in more than a quarter of U.S. traffic fatalities. What can fleets do to reduce the safety impact of speeding drivers? - Photo: Work Truck

Speeding kills. It’s consistently a factor in more than a quarter of U.S. traffic fatalities. What can fleets do to reduce the safety impact of speeding drivers? 

Photo: Work Truck 

A new survey of 1,802 drivers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed that 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. 

The survey also showed that about half of drivers say they wouldn't mind vehicle technology that makes the accelerator pedal harder to press or automatically restricts speed.

Editor's Note: Want to dig into fleet safety? Check out the latest findings from the Work Truck Fleet Safety Study

Implications of the IIHS Safety Study Findings

IIHS President David Harkey characterized these findings as "exciting."

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

Speeding is a significant factor in U.S. traffic fatalities, contributing to more than 12,000 deaths in 2022 alone. Despite the risks, about half of drivers admit to driving at least 15 mph over the limit in the past month.

The Potential of Speed-Restricting Technology

According to the IIHS, speed limiters have been around for years, but the conventional type only allows one maximum setting. That means the few fleet operators and others who use them have to set the maximum at highway speeds, making them useless on most U.S. roads.

In contrast, intelligent speed assistance (ISA) systems use GPS and a speed limit database, sometimes with cameras capable of reading posted signs, to identify and adapt to the actual speed limit. 

IIHS Senior Research Scientist Ian Reagan, who designed the survey about ISA, emphasized the potential of the current technologies to virtually eliminate speeding. 

“We can no longer pretend this is an unsolvable problem,” noted Reagan, who designed the survey about intelligent speed assistance (ISA). “With our current technologies, 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.”

Driver Preference for Advisory Systems

To account for how respondents’ driving style might influence their feelings about ISA, Reagan asked general questions about the danger of speeding, the effectiveness of technology, and the respondents’ driving behavior. 

The survey also revealed a clear preference for advisory systems over those that directly intervene to control the vehicle's speed. However, drivers' attitudes towards ISA varied based on the specific features offered. 

For instance, nearly 60% of drivers in the advisory-only group found it acceptable if the ISA system came on automatically at the beginning of every trip, compared to 51% of drivers in the accelerator-feedback group and 48% of drivers in the speed-limiter group. 

Around 70% of drivers in all groups agreed they would want ISA in their next car if their insurance company lowered their premiums based on evidence that they don’t speed.

The survey did flag some potential pitfalls. Frequent speeders were 20% less likely to accept ISA than occasional or rare speeders, suggesting those who need it most might use it the least. However, the two groups were equally likely to say they would keep the feature switched on if their vehicle had it. 

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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