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Federal Accident Investigators Call for New Cars to Issue Warnings for Speeding

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), federal accident investigators are urging automakers to incorporate systems in all new vehicles that alert drivers when they exceed the speed limit. Additionally, they are requesting regulators to explore ways for states to electronically limit the speeds of vehicles driven by repeat traffic offenders. The NTSB’s recommendations come after a hearing on a January 2022 crash in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The investigation of the crash revealed that the driver of a Dodge Challenger, who had a history of speeding, ran a red light at 103 miles per hour and collided with a minivan, resulting in fatalities.

The NTSB concluded that the driver’s excessive speed and failure to obey traffic signals, along with impairment from cocaine and PCP, were the primary causes of the crash. They also highlighted the inadequacy of the state of Nevada in effectively penalizing the driver despite multiple speeding violations prior to the incident. Some of the violations had been reduced to parking tickets in plea bargains, and the lack of communication between adjacent courts further complicated the situation.

Although the driver had been convicted of numerous traffic violations over the years, his official state driving record showed only one moving violation at the time of the crash. The NTSB emphasized the need for states to share information and remove silos between courts to ensure accountability for repeat traffic offenders. They also pointed out that the problem of one court being unaware of the driving violations recorded in another court is not unique to Nevada and is prevalent in other states as well.

In addition to their recommendations, the NTSB outlined the need for measures to reduce the number of repeat speeding offenders and emphasized the development of guidelines for testing speed-limiting devices on vehicles owned by repeat offenders. They also proposed the mandatory inclusion of “intelligent speed assistance systems” in all new vehicles, utilizing cameras and mapping technology to determine and warn drivers of the speed limit.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing automakers, acknowledged the role of technology in reducing speed-related crashes but emphasized the importance of education, enforcement, and infrastructure investment in addressing the issue. NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy expressed frustration with the lack of action from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the inclusion of speed limit warnings in new car ratings, emphasizing the significant contribution of speeding to traffic fatalities in the United States.

A NHTSA spokeswoman stated that the agency values the NTSB’s input and is carefully reviewing it. She also mentioned that the agency is in the process of developing a regulation after seeking public comments on updates to new vehicle ratings, including the potential addition of speed limiters or warnings. The NTSB’s call for action to address the impact of automotive marketing ads that encourage speeding was also highlighted, citing a specific Dodge muscle car ad that promotes speed and aggressive driving.

The fatal North Las Vegas crash resulted in the loss of several lives and highlighted the devastating consequences of excessive speeding and traffic violations. It serves as a sobering reminder of the urgent need for measures to address speed-related crashes and hold repeat traffic offenders accountable.


Associated Press Writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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