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GPS speed warning device a lifesaver

25 October 2010

An anti-speeding device that could save 35 NSW road deaths a year will not be made compulsory, the state government says.

A trial of Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) technology found 89 per cent of motorists reduced the amount of time they spent speeding when the dashboard device was installed in their vehicle, Roads Minister David Borger announced in Sydney on Monday.

The new technology was the subject of a six-month trial by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) involving 100 vehicles in the Illawarra region between September 2009 and March this year.
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"ISA helps drivers reduce their speed. It actually warns them when they're going above a speed limit in their local area," Mr Borger said, adding that the trial was the biggest of its kind in the world.

The ISA devices use GPS technology linked to a map of every road and its speed limit in the region, unlike previous devices for which drivers entered the speed limits themselves.

The system beeps repeatedly if the speed limit is exceeded, warning the driver to slow down.

"Road safety modelling from the trial suggests if every vehicle in the Illawarra was equipped with ISA technology, there would be an 8.4 per cent reduction in fatalities and a 5.9 per cent drop in road injuries," Mr Borger said.

Across NSW, 35 road deaths and about 1500 injuries would be prevented every year if the system was installed in every car in the state, he added.

Despite this, there was no proposal to make ISA technology compulsory, Mr Borger said.

"This is not something we want to impose to make people's lives more difficult," he said, adding that the beeping noise irritated about a quarter of the trial motorists.

"Some people didn't like the annoying sound of the speed limit device and that's the principal reason why this would be a voluntary system in the future.

"I think we need a few more years of research and understanding of the application of the system before we could even consider questions about making this mandatory, even for people who do break the speed limit on a regular basis."

The RTA is currently mapping the speed limits of every road in the state and hopes to do quality checks in mid-2011 before releasing the technology.

A smartphone application of the device will be released next year.

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