Imagine if our cars enforced speed limits or strongly encouraged us to avoid speeding. This could potentially reduce speeding, improve road safety, and eliminate speeding fines. The importance of reducing speeding cannot be understated, as it plays a significant role in the increasing number of road accidents and fatalities in Australia. Many Australians believe that "intelligent speed assist" technology is crucial in creating safer roads, as it has the potential to save lives by reducing speeding. Previous speed-limiting technologies proposed a fixed top speed limit, but intelligent speed assist allows motorists to break the speed limit if they choose to do so.
Currently, drivers are required to constantly monitor speed limits and adjust their speed accordingly in order to avoid speeding. However, this practice can be dangerous, as it diverts attention away from the road to check the speedometer. Given the frequent changes in speed limits and the possibility of human error, it is no surprise that speeding is a common occurrence. By equipping all cars with intelligent speed assist, a significant number of crashes could be prevented and lives saved each year. Numerous studies have shown that advisory intelligent speed systems reduced speeding in 89% of vehicles during testing.
While intelligent speed assist is not without its flaws and obstacles, efforts should be made to maximize its effectiveness as a life-saving technology. In 2022, the European Union made it mandatory for all new cars to be equipped with intelligent speed assist technology. In Australia, some newer cars already come equipped with this feature. While retroactively fitting older vehicles on a large scale may not be feasible, there may still be the possibility of retrofitting fleet cars such as government and company vehicles.
Many individuals believe they are superior drivers and believe it is acceptable to speed as long as they feel they are driving safely. However, research shows that even a small increase in speed significantly increases the likelihood of fatal crashes. Speeding remains one of the leading causes of road deaths, especially among children. The current measures in place to reduce speeding have proven to be ineffective, with a low number of drivers receiving speeding fines despite admitting to regularly exceeding the speed limit. The revenue generated from these fines pales in comparison to the economic cost of road traffic crashes.
Intelligent speed assist is not a complete solution, but it can be utilized as one of several measures to help us achieve the goal of zero road deaths. Numerous countries around the world have already accomplished this goal multiple times in a year. To make progress in this area, three key actions need to be taken: maximizing the usage of this technology, utilizing the evidence that demonstrates its effectiveness, and addressing any barriers that hinder its widespread adoption. Given the urgency of the problem, the available technology, and the evidence of its success, prioritizing the saving of lives on our roads should be paramount.