Federal agency recommends steps to limit the speeds of new cars

Updated Nov 21, 2023
Crashed minivan
NTSB's 3D laser scan showing damage to the minivan in a 2022 North Las Vegas accident
NTSB

Truckers are not the only drivers facing the prospect of having the speed of their vehicles regulated.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently said its investigation into a multi-vehicle collision in North Las Vegas, Nevada, last year that resulted in nine fatalities has led the board to recommend a requirement for intelligent speed assistance technology in all new cars. The board issued the recommendations Nov. 14  at a public meeting after determining the crash was caused by excessive speed, drug-impaired driving, and Nevada’s failure to deter the driver’s speeding recidivism due to systemic deficiencies, despite numerous speeding citations.

The NTSB said in a statement intelligent speed assistance technology (ISA) uses a car’s GPS location compared with a database of posted speed limits and its onboard cameras to help ensure safe and legal speeds. Passive ISA systems warn a driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit through visual, sound, or haptic (the sense of touch) alerts, and the driver is responsible for slowing the car. 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 fully prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit. 

According to the NTSB, on Jan. 29, 2022, a 2018 Dodge Challenger entered an intersection near North Las Vegas, Nevada, against a red traffic signal at 103 mph, causing a collision with five other vehicles. Seven occupants of a minivan and the Challenger’s driver and passenger died as a result of the crash. 

As a result of the investigation into the North Las Vegas crash, the NTSB issued eight new and one reiterated recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one new recommendation to states, and one new recommendation to manufacturers: 

To NHTSA: 

  • Require ISA systems that, at a minimum, warn a driver a vehicle is speeding
  • Educate the public about the benefits of ISA
  • Update the guidelines for state highway safety programs to include identification and tracking of repeat speeding offenders
  • Develop countermeasures to reduce repeat speeding offenses
  • Conduct research and develop guidelines to assist states in implementing ISA interlock programs for repeat speeding offenders
  • Incentivize the adoption of ISA through, for example, the New Car Assessment Program. This recommendation is reiterated from a 2017 recommendation

To 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia:

  • ​Implement programs to identify repeat speeding offenders and measurably reduce speeding recidivism

​To 17 car manufacturers:

  • ​​Install ISA in all new passenger vehicles that, at a minimum, warn drivers when a vehicle is speeding

To the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety:

  • ​Evaluate the safety outcomes of marketing by auto manufacturers that emphasize risky behavior, including speeding. The evaluation should compare vehicles based on engine size, power and performance and international approaches to marketing. Make the report publicly available
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The executive summary, probable cause, findings, and safety recommendations of the investigation are available on the investigation web pag​e. The final report will be published on the NTSB’s website in several weeks.