The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) is an independent review agency in the federal government. They're the group which get called when a plane crashes, or a train goes off the rails, or, in this particular case, when a speeding car crashes into a minivan in North Las Vegas and nine people die from this one wreck alone, as happened in 2022. After reviewing that wreck, the NTSB recommends that our cars warn us, inhibit us, or prevent us from speeding.
The NTSB said on Tuesday that the 2022 North Las Vegas crash "highlights [the] need for intelligent speed assistance technology and countermeasures including interlock program for repeat speeding offenders." What is intelligent speed assistance technology? Here is the clarification, direct from the NTSB press release:
Intelligent speed assistance technology, or 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 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.
It is not the NTSB's role to carry out this recommendation. it is not a policy-making body. It is just an agency that reviews transportation disasters, figures out how they happened, and makes recommendations on how to keep them from happening.
The wreck itself that spurred this recommendation was particularly egregious but little about it sounds surprising. As the NTSB report notes, a driver and passenger in a 2018 Dodge Challenger ran a red light at 103 mph, hitting a Toyota Sienna with seven people inside. The light had been red for 29 seconds. All nine people died.
As the NTSB notes, some 12,330 people died in speeding-related crashes in 2021 alone, roughly a third of all traffic deaths in the U.S. What is abundantly clear is that something needs to change, and we all know that relying on cops to pull people over isn't working for anybody.
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