World first study finds speed alert devices do slow leadfoots down

World first study finds speed alert devices do slow leadfoots down

speed-cameraA landmark study of Victorian motorists with a history of speeding has found that using speed alert devices can reduce speeding, potentially saving lives.

Minister for Roads Terry Mulder said the VicRoads study was the first in the world to examine if Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) devices would improve the speed behaviour of a group of repeat speeders.

VicRoads conducted two trials; one involving repeat speeders attending a behaviour-change discussion group, and the other used technology to warn drivers they were speeding. Researchers from the Monash University Accident Research Centre independently evaluated the trials.

“The most promising results were returned by those drivers using a speed alert (ISA) device with an audible alert or beep when the vehicle exceeded the speed limit,” Mr Mulder said.

“Participants with an ISA device fitted to their cars spent 40 per cent less time speeding than the group of drivers without the device.

“This is an important piece of research which demonstrates how technology can be used to reduce the accidents, injuries and deaths caused by speeding.”

Mr Mulder said he encouraged drivers to buy a GPS with a speed alert function.

“Most popular GPS devices have features that warn a motorist when they are over the speed limit, and we now know how effective they can be,” Mr Mulder said.

“With Christmas just around the corner, this is a great gift idea for families to buy their loved ones. You will not just be giving a gift but also in turn receiving the gift of peace of mind, knowing your loved one will be safer out on the roads.

“When comparing the average cost of a GPS with a speed alert function at around $100 to the cost of a minimum speeding fine at $180, the choice is obvious.

“The message is simple – if you or someone you know has racked up multiple speeding fines or wants to avoid speeding fines, consider a device like a GPS with a speed alert function. You will become a safer driver and help reduce the road toll.

“Travelling at five kilometres over the speed limit in a 60 km/h zone doubles the chance of a crash and is the equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.05. That risk quadruples when you’re 10 kilometres over a 60 km/h limit.

“The research team at Monash University Accident Research Centre estimated that repeat speeders using an ISA device can result in a 12 per cent reduction in the casualty crash risk across all speed zones.

“Even more promising, the research team has estimated that if all repeat speeders were to use the ISA devices continuously, we could prevent 180 casualty crashes over five years,” Mr Mulder said.

The ISA device trial involved 39 drivers using an advisory ISA device fitted to their cars, and compared the results with those of 46 drivers without devices. Continuous speed data from their vehicles was collected over five months – three months with the ISA device and a further two months after it was removed.

The ISA devices had a three-stage warning sequence with a visual speed limit which turned red when the speed limit was exceeded by 1 to 2 km/h, a single beep when the vehicle reached 2 to 4 km/h over the limit and a continuous rapid triple beep when the vehicle speed reached more than 4 km/h over the limit, with the continual beeping continuing until the vehicle returned to the speed limit.

A trial participant, Amanda Toohey, said she had learnt a lot about her driving behaviour during the trial.

“Having the device in my car made me realise that to stop my speeding, a change of behaviour was required, including better time-management and organisation,” Mrs Toohey said.

“At the time of the trial my daughters were 11 and 12 years old. The device did slow my driving, and made me realise that we pass a lot of our bad habits onto our children, and my driving behaviour needed to change. My oldest daughter will get her learners next year and I hope she never speeds.”

Mr Mulder said VicRoads will now use this research to help develop an in-car technology (ISA) strategy and recommendations for the Victorian Coalition Government to consider.

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