GPS system used to slow speeding cars
June 24, 2008 - 2:59PM
Car systems that tell drivers of speed limits and reduce vehicle speed if they fail to slow down are to be trialled in three states.
The NSW Centre for Road Safety will install 100 cars with GPS devices that will notify drivers of the speed limit and warn them when they are going to fast.
If they fail to slow down, other technology will kick in to limit the supply of fuel to the engine, forcing a reduction in the vehicle's speed.
If successful, the trial in the Illawarra region could lead to a wider rollout of the system, with the technology adopted during car manufacture, says NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal.
The 18-month, $1 million NSW trial will begin next month.
The technology will also be trialled in Victoria and Western Australia.
"Speeding is a factor in around 40 per cent of all fatal crashes in NSW, with 139 people losing their lives on our roads last year because of speed," Mr Roozendaal said.
"This kind of technology has the potential to help cut the road toll and save lives."
About 2,500km of roads in the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama areas have been mapped for the trial. They contain 4,000 speed signs and 950 speed zones.
Three local organisations have volunteered to take part in the trial, which will analyse driver behaviour to see if the Australian-developed technology has any impact on driving habits.
Mr Roozendaal admitted some drivers might not like the idea of losing some control of their vehicle to "Big Brother", even if it did prevent them speeding.
"I can imagine there might be a lot of drivers that might see benefits in avoiding being caught speeding on our roads," he said.
"(But) if it does slow drivers down, if it does make drivers safer, it does change the way they behave ... we'll see if it can be rolled out further."
The new technology could also be used to curb "recalcitrant" speeders, Mr Roozendaal said.
Asked if the speed intervention system posed any safety risk, Mr Roozendaal said an override function would give drivers some control in emergency situations.
"There are full safety considerations and in the event of an emergency, or in the need to accelerate, they can override the system," he said.
"I'm assured by the road safety experts that this is all very safe."
Mr Roozendaal said it could be years before the system was rolled out across NSW, due to the current cost of the technology and the logistics of mapping huge areas.
"I imagine it would be a couple of years before we could see any realistic broader commercial response," he said.
"The other thing that needs to be done is map electronically all the speed zones (across the state). That's quite a labour-intensive project."
He estimated the cost of installing the devices at between $700 and $800 per car.
© 2008 AAP