Survey gauges acceptance levels of in-car digital speed control

Brake examines potential levels of acceptance for in-vehicle digital speed maps that control maximum car speed based on enforced limits.

UK Road safety charity Brake is urging the government to take steps towards introducing Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) on UK roads, after a survey carried out on behalf of the charity found almost two-thirds (63%) of drivers would be willing to let this ground-breaking technology automatically restrict their speed.

ISA technology uses GPS combined with a digital map of speed limits to keep vehicles to the posted speed limit. This technology could potentially make other speed control measures unnecessary and ensure all drivers comply with speed limits at all times, preventing thousands of needless deaths and injuries.

The survey found that almost a third of drivers (32%) said they would be willing to have ‘mandatory ISA’ fitted to their vehicle if it was free. This automatically decreases acceleration if the driver exceeds the speed limit and cannot be overridden.

Other results showed that:

* 31% would be willing to have ‘voluntary ISA’ fitted if it was free. This automatically decreases acceleration if the driver exceeds the speed limit but can be overridden.
* 23% would be willing to have ‘advisory ISA’ fitted, a system which alerts them when they are over the speed limit but does not automatically reduce speed.
* 14% of drivers are unwilling to make use of the technology in any form.

Controlled trials of ISA have predicted voluntary ISA could reduce road deaths by 21% and mandatory ISA could increase this figure to 46%. Advisory ISA is far less effective but could still reduce fatal crashes by 5% potentially saving 85 lives a year in the country.

The survey found overwhelming support for the introduction of telematics, with 73% of surveyed UK drivers saying they would be likely or very likely to have telematics fitted in their vehicles.

Brake is calling for the government to take full advantage of ISA by producing a digital speed limit road map of the country, requiring vehicle manufacturers to equip all vehicles with the technology and making ISA mandatory.

Commenting on the effectiveness of ISA, Brake’s Gary Rae said: “ISA has the potential to make all other speed enforcement unnecessary and prevent nearly half the devastating deaths on our roads. As speed is at least an aggravating factor in almost all road crashes, this technology could make our roads much safer for everyone and prevent thousands of senseless casualties every year if rolled out systematically. As yet, there has not been the political will to roll out ISA despite its potential. However, as these results clearly demonstrate, the willingness exists among the driving public to use ISA to make speeding on UK roads a thing of the past.”

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