Appeal to the Italian Government and Parliament
for introducing the automatic speed limitation of motor vehicles (intelligent speed adaptation)
Despite the significant progress that over the last decade has been achieved in the road safety area or, better to say, as a result of such progress, there is a growing awareness about the unsustainable social impact of the deaths due to road accidents. In 2013 (latest available data) a total of 3.400 people have been killed in Italy; more than 42% of these casualties, compared with an European average of 33%, have occurred on urban road and half of them were represented by pedestrians and cyclists.
This awareness led to the so-called "vision 0" which has been adopted by a continuously larger number of countries throughout the world. According to the “vision 0” the only acceptable key objective that the community can assume is the total elimination of fatal and severe accidents on the roads.
This involves a deep technological evolution of motor vehicles, that is a development that will take several years to be completed; however, with current technology major results can already be successfully obtained, as it is demonstrated by the introduction of the “tutor” control system on the Italian highways, where the mortality rate has been reduced by over 70%.
The measure that looks easier to be introduced and, at the same time, the most effective is the fitting on motor vehicles of ‘intelligent’ speed control devices that accommodate themselves automatically according to the speed limits set for the different categories of roads.
Already at the beginning of 1990s, role and contribution of this control device (called ISA, intelligent speed adaptation) have been recurrently analyzed, evaluated and trialed in several countries. Results have been positively reported in terms of accident reduction (which would be halved), fuel consumption and emissions and, finally, more seemless traffic flows.
The limits of the technology available at that time, the cost to overcome them and, maybe, an excessive concern about the social acceptability and the impact on the car industry appear to be the main reasons that have prevented the introduction of this device to date.
Compared to the past, the current situation is substantially different, not only because the use of the technologies needed (satellite navigation systems and electronic engine control) have improved and spread more widely, but also because of the new public awareness mentioned above; the barriers to the introduction of the ISA may, therefore, be considered obsolete or easily solvable. Further delays will not only have any rational justification, but pose a problem of accountability of the policy makers for the deaths and suffering that might be otherwise be avoided.
The oncoming reform of the Italian Highway Code offers then a paramount opportunity to proceed in this direction but, also, if we are conscious that the technical and regulatory steps that still need to be put forth to implement such intervention are neither simple nor immediate.
Therefore we ask the Italian Government and the Parliament for:
a) considering, evaluating and quickly developing a working proposal for the introduction of ISA devices on motor vehicles;
b) triggering and supporting an initiative at European level to extend and coordinate such action with other Member States.
We ask institutions, local authorities, associations, the world of education and culture, enterprises and all public and private entities who intend through this initiative build up a more civilized country to join this appeal.
(traduzione di Alessio Sistran)