STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Worried you might be driving over the speed limit? Soon, you might not have to.
Earlier this month, State. Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation that, if passed, would require all vehicles built after Jan. 1, 2024 that are registered in New York to include advanced safety technology, including speed-limiting capabilities.
The speed-limiting technology, known formally as intelligent speed assistance (ISA), is widely used in European countries and can be programmed to prevent drivers from exceeding the posted speed limit.
The bill references the recent rise in traffic fatalities in New York City, citing the spike in deaths as justification for requiring the new vehicle safety features.
“Traffic violence in New York City skyrocketed in 2021 to levels not seen in years. There were over 270 traffic-related deaths on city streets in 2021 — the deadliest year of Mayor de Blasio’s term. Unfortunately, it was not an outlier. There were also record deaths in 2020, with 243 confirmed traffic fatalities. The unfortunate trends we are witnessing add up to a crisis. Each death is preventable. A multifaceted approach to street safety is necessary to keep our pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and all road users safe,” the legislation reads.
In addition to the speed-limiting technology, the bill would require all new vehicles to come equipped with various other advanced safety features, including advanced emergency braking (AEB), emergency lane keeping systems (ELKS), blind spot information systems (BSIS), drowsiness and distraction recognition technology, rear-view camera sensor systems and event data recorders (EDR).
“Vehicle technology has advanced significantly in recent years, with advanced safety features now available that have the potential to greatly reduce injuries and deaths on our roadways. We must use every tool available to us to keep New York safe,” the bill continues.
EFFORTS IN NYC
Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Adams announced that intelligent speed assistance technology had been installed in a select number of city fleet vehicles.
As of June 30, the intelligent speed assist technology has been installed in 50 of the city’s vehicles as part of an $80,000 pilot program that limits speeds based on an area’s speed limits.
“If this is a successful pilot, we want to see this go throughout every vehicle we are using in our city fleet,” the mayor said at the time. “Even as the speed limit changes from highway to the streets, we’re going to ensure that vehicles stay within the speed limits.”
Emergency vehicles are currently exempt from the pilot program, including those the mayor uses to get around the city.
The initial rollout of the technology spanned several city agencies, including the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).
The system uses telematics and sensors in the car to limit how fast a driver can go based on the speed limit of the area.
Within the first few weeks of using the technology, city agencies logged over 10,000 miles and there had not yet been any issues, DCAS Deputy Commissioner and New York City Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman said.
As part of DCAS’ efforts to implement vehicle safety retrofits, the department has installed over 65,000 safety improvements to city fleet units, including driver alert systems, telematics, truck side-guards, automatic braking, back-up alerts, dash cams and heated mirrors, according to the mayor’s office.
“Using telematics alerts, New York City has already cut excessive speeding by fleet units in more than half,” Kerman said. “DCAS will now implement active and passive intelligent speed assistance technology inside each pilot vehicle to further reduce illegal speeding and help keep New Yorkers safer.”