Speed Limiters for Teens

Eman and Aliya

Speed limiters and their effectiveness

Road speed limiters were developed to improve safety by controlling the top speed of the vehicle without affecting any of the other functions.


According to field trials in three European countries, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, the speed limiter proved to be effective. It was reported that the speed limiter decreased the variation of speeds which would imply that limiters equipped in cars in greater volumes would offer a potential for making traffic flow smoother. It was also reported that roundabouts, intersection, and curves were also affected by the limiter, causing steady approaches in terms of deceleration. Traffic and general driving in Europe is much more hectic than in North America, if speed limiters were effective there then they would have a greater impact in North America.

What positive effects have speed limiters had on safety among truck drivers?

A Crash Potential Index (CPI) was used to evaluate the safety impacts as it captures speed differential, vehicle spacing and vehicle/driver braking capabilities.


- Maximum safety gains were obtained when the maximum speed limiter setting was at 90 (kph) for the uncongested traffic volumes under consideration.

- As traffic volume and percentage trucks in the traffic stream are increased, the safety gains associated with mandatory limiters set at 105 kph become less pronounced.

- As compliance is increased, there is a small corresponding increase in safety for the mandatory speed limiter case.


Lastly, other positive effects that speed limiters have had are lower fuel consumption, lower maintenance costs, more relaxed driving and lower insurance premiums as a result of less accidents.

Teen driving habits and their effect on road safety

All teenagers know that they are not supposed to use a cell phone or drink while driving. Very recently, a survey was conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) that shows what teenagers recognize as dangerous behaviour is also what they admit they do while driving.

According to the survey results, 68 percent of teenagers say that they have driven under the influence of alcoholic beverages. “A quarter of fatal crashes that involve young drivers resulted from drinking and driving,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2012, 3300 deaths were reported as the result of distractions while driving such as talking or texting on a cell phone. 86 percent of teenage drivers admit that they use a cell phone while driving. Almost half (47 percent) admit that they still text when they are at a stop sign or at a red light.

All of these dangerous risks that teenagers take are not only affecting their own lives, but the lives of their friends and the lives of other people who are driving on the road. “On average, 10 teens die every day in vehicles driven by themselves or other teens,” and this will continue unless a significant change, such as installing speed limiters, takes place.

Would those who want to break the law be able to find a way to disable a speed limiter?

Teenagers, who would want to break the law, will be able to find a way to disable a speed limiter. Some cars’ top speed is programmable so that teens are restricted from going higher than a certain speed which is usually chosen by their parents. Now, there are ways that people can change the way that their engine works. One of the ways to alter the engine is by using engine computer reprogramming or performance chips. These adjustments can allow you to add power to the engine as well as deactivate the speed limiter. Another method to remove the speed limiter is to do it mechanically.

There are different ways to make adjustments to different cars and if they wanted to, teenagers could do some research about their own vehicle to learn how they can make these changes to their engine. Teenagers could break the law by doing this but they should know that it is not a safe thing to do and unless they have very good driving skills, they shouldn't make a move like this.

Survey

Do you think that speed limiters will increase road safety?

Majority of those surveyed, 69% thought that speed limiters would increase road safety. Some people, however, thought that speed limiters would cause more harm than safety because of certain situations where the driver would need to go over the speed limit in order to avoid a collision.

Do you think speed limiters will decrease the number of teenagers interested in driving?

Most people, 78% thought that even if there is a speed limiter it would not stop teenagers from wanting to drive, as a car would be the best form of transportation to get from point A to point Z.

On average, 10 teens die every day in vehicles driven by themselves or other teens. Would speed limiters decrease the number of daily accidents?

Nearly half of those surveyed, 48% thought that speed limiters would not decrease the number of daily accidents. Most of them said it was because speed is not the only factor that distracts teenagers while they are driving. There are other influences that would affect their driving such as using cell phones, drinking alcoholic beverages, etc.

What are benefits of using speed limiters?

Benefits:

- Saving 46 million litres of fuel yearly

- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 130 kilotons of CO2 every year

- Help to reduce crashes

If a crash does occur, it would be less severe

- Lower maintenance costs

- Longer tire life

- Increased road safety for all drivers

- Encourages safe driving

Modifying the bill

The modification that should be made is the speed. The bill states that there is a maximum of 90 km/h. The modification I would make would be to have a maximum speed for the streets and a maximum speed on the highway. On the streets, most of the time the maximum speed is 60 km/h so that would be the maximum for the streets. On the highway however, the maximum speed could be 100 km/h. The car would have a built in system to differentiate when it’s on the streets or on the highway. Right when the car reaches the maximum then a reminder of a mandatory fee could be repeated to the driver.

Why limit how fast a car can go?

Why limit how fast a car can go? The primary reason is safety. Often enough teenage drivers age 16-19 are three times likelier to be in a fatal crash than those that are older. 39% of the time, the crashes are due to going over speed limit. When teens go over the speed limit many of them do not have the reflexes it takes to handle those speeds. This number can easily be brought down, with the use of speed limiters. They would undoubtedly help teenagers control their speed, as an alarm would signal every time they are about to go over the speed limit. By introducing speed limiters in all vehicles, it will reduce the percentage of accidents that take place due to crossing over speed limit, it would save parents a lot of money and insurance companies would have less of these cases to deal with. Lastly, we would recommend that if this bill is to be passed as a law that the modifications above are to be considered.