- Free Consultations / No Fees Until We Win
- (213) 927-3700
Personal Injury Firm
A recent study reportedly found that drivers who use cruise control are actually more likely to speed. Cruise control technology was invented to help drivers maintain a safe and steady speed, but the findings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “could have troubling implications for the next steps in the automated vehicle revolution,” as Streetsblog USA writes.
The speed-regulating technology studied comes standard on most cars today. This feature, in addition to keeping a car moving at a fixed rate of speed, it also has the ability to automatically slow down a driver when they start to creep up on another vehicle, maintain a safe following distance at a lower speed, and then accelerate back to the pre-selected “cruising” speed once the way is clear.
Usually, this technology has been lauded for being a possible solution to the epidemic of speeding. But as the researchers found, this isn’t true. In fact, per the research, drivers who use it are 24% more likely to break local speed limits than when they drive without advanced assistance. When roads were signed for 55 miles per hour limit, drivers with ACC-equipped cars averaged going over by eight miles per hour. In areas with 60- or 65-mile-per-hour limits, people drove about five miles per hour faster than they were legally allowed.
Researchers estimate that the speeding behaviors of ACC-equipped drivers put them at a 10% higher risk of dying in a car crash than drivers who don’t speed. And they’re also more likely to kill other people — especially pedestrians. Pedestrians hit by drivers traveling at speeds over 58 miles per hour or more die at least 90% of the time. Currently, no advanced cruise control system is configured to maintain a safe distance from a pedestrian 100% of the time.
The reports also adds to the growing evidence regarding the dangers of many forms of partial automation on U.S. roadways, especially when there’s nothing to prevent drivers from using safety tech to do dangerous things behind the wheel more easily. Sam Monfort, a statistician for the Institute and the lead author on the study, says that automation can be used properly or misused: “We know a lot of drivers are using cruise control, and as we add things like lane centering, that cruise control is getting more advanced — especially as we keep marching towards fully-automated car travel. We need to pay attention to how that influences the way they drive.”
Monfort notes that combining adaptive cruise control with intelligent speed-limiting technology could seem like a good idea at first, but it could easily backfire if the move incentivizes drivers to just turn the tech off and hit the gas.
As the coronavirus pandemic emptied out the roads at its start, speeding throughout California shot up. The California Highway Patrol has seen an alarming 87% increase in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph. During the month after the start of the stay-at-home-order in March, the CHP issued 2,493 tickets throughout California for speeding over 100 mph — almost doubling the amount of the same offense seen during the same period last year.