Speed, whether excessive (above established limits) or inappropriate (within limits but not adjusted to the conditions of the road, vehicle or driver) is a problem for road safety in many countries as established by the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Conference of Transport Ministers (ECMT).
According to both organisations, half of all drivers drive at an inappropriate speed and 20% in excess of the established limit by 10 kilometres per hour.
Not respecting the speed limits is a fundamental element that determines the greater or lesser incidence in road accidents, and the severity and degree of injury of the victims in the event of a traffic accident. In addition, in the case of fatal incidents, in 21% of them, speed was a concurrent factor.
In 2016 (the last year with consolidated data) more than 350 people died on the roads in incidents in which speed was one of the concurrent factors.
For this reason and because awareness to respect the speed limits is essential to reduce the incident rate, the Directorate General of Traffic collaborates with all Europe-wide campaigns of awareness and monitoring of speed on the roads, usually carried out simultaneously in almost thirty countries that make up the International Organization of Traffic Police (TISPOL), of which the Traffic Group of the Guardia Civil is a member.
In addition to the Guardia Civil, local and regional police also get involved in these campaigns, with the DGT offering equipment, such as their own marked vehicles, to police forces in order to assist them in combatting one of the riskiest road-based dangers. Particularly as on urban roads across the country, including in cities, pedestrians are the users who suffer the most deaths where speed is the main contributing factor.
As a result of the reluctance for many drivers to realise the dangers of excessive speed, the DGT is investigating an overall reduction in the maximum permitted speed limit on conventional roads, which, if approved, will see many of the current limits reduced by 10 kilometres per hour on most roads.
According to Gregorio Serrano, director general of the DGT,“the idea is that all of these roads have a speed limit of 90 km / h, a limit that the owners of these roads could change to the levels they consider reasonable,”, continuing, “The scientific evidence and the accidents that occur every day on our roads lead us to conclude that reducing speed is a necessary measure if we want to reduce the accident rate and the pain of thousands of families.”
According to several studies, a decrease of 1% of the average speed of a road, produces a reduction of 4% in fatal collisions (Nilsson). On the other hand Elvik showed that reducing the speed limit by 10 km / h implies a reduction of 2.5 km / h in the average speed. Taking into account both authors, it could be affirmed that reducing the speed limit by 10 km / h would imply a decrease in mortality of around 10%.
Not respecting the speed limits is a fundamental element that determines the greater or lesser incidence in road traffic incidents, and the severity and degree of injury of the victims in the event of a traffic collision. In addition, in the case of fatal incidents, in 21% of them, speed was a concurrent factor.
Although not without the inevitable incident, given the early, yet fast development of the technology, advanced systems to assist the driver, and make the roads safer are already being implemented in vehicles, and on the road network.
Advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, are systems to help the driver in the driving process. When designed with a safe human-machine interface, they should increase car safety and more generally road safety.
Most road traffic incidents occur due to the human error. Advanced driver-assistance systems are systems developed to automate, adapt and enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. The automated system which is provided by ADAS to the vehicle is proven to reduce road fatalities, by minimizing the human error.
Safety features are designed to avoid collisions by offering technologies that alert the driver to potential problems, or to avoid collisions by implementing safeguards and taking over control of the vehicle. Adaptive features may automate lighting, provide adaptive cruise control, automate braking, incorporate GPS/ traffic warnings, connect to smartphones, alert the driver to other cars or dangers, lane departure warning system, automatic lane guidance, or showing what is in blind spots.
According to a study by the DGT, “Report and analysis on the influence of driving support systems on road safety and its application for the classification of vehicles”, the widespread implementation of such assistance systems in national vehicles would reduce the severity of incidents by 57% and avoid a figure of 51,000 collisions, and their consequences.
Many of the ADAS available on the market have been grouped according to the different types of incident (collision, run over, exit …) and many of them automatically reduce the speed of the vehicle if they detect a collision risk such as FCW (Frontal collision Warning); AEBS (Automatic Emergency Braking); SLI (Speed Limit Indicator) or ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control).