Senate Bill S9528 is the response of Democratic New York State Senator Brad Hoylman to the growing traffic violence in New York City. This bill mandates the use of Intelligent Speed Assistance – ISA — in New York State’s vehicles built after Jan. 2024.
ISA is a technology that can be programmed to prevent drivers from exceeding the posted speed limit. The rationale of ISA is rooted in the advancement of vehicles being driven and the resulting increase in traffic violence.
Under former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term, the numbers rose from 243 traffic-related deaths to 270 in 2021, which was the deadliest year. ISA would theoretically prevent this as this technology is a system that ensures that vehicles do not cross legal speed limits by letting drivers set maximum speed limits and set a speed limit within five miles per hour of a posted limit.
Other features besides the ISA are advanced emergency braking system (AEB), emergency lane keeping systems (ELKS), blind spot information systems (BSIS), drowsiness and distraction recognition technology, rear-view camera sensor systems and event data recorders (EDR).
AEB warns the driver of impending collisions and assists with brakes, ELKS issues an audible warning to the driver to make sure their vehicle stays in their lane, BSIS enhances driver awareness by alerting the driver of the presence of other vehicles and EDR records information related to an event such as traffic resulting from a highway crash.
ISA will be tested with a pilot program with 50 vehicles which includes sedans, SUVs, pickups, vans and trucks, which are large and have blinds spots that may endanger people.
Politicians are optimistic about the legislation’s ability to reduce traffic violence such as Mayor Eric Adams and Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.
“If this is a successful pilot, we want to see this go through every vehicle that we are using in our city fleet,” Adams said after unveiling the pilot program.
“It’s the power of numbers,” Joshi said, echoing the potential of the ISA. “Depending on how prevalent they are, the vehicles with ISAs set the tone of the road. You can’t do anything but follow the speed they’re going.”
Critics are more skeptical. Harvard University researcher David Zipper studied speed governors like ISA and disagreed with Hoylman’s approach. Zipper criticized the effectiveness of ISA and how the automotive industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducts research on how vehicle improvements can protect people, will potentially respond to the legislation.
“If the bill starts to get traction in Albany I’m sure you’ll hear from the industry and NHTSA challenging it,” Zipper said.
Aside from politicians promoting the potential of the bill, New Yorkers such as New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services Deputy Commissioner and Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman see potential in the new system. With his department installing over 65,000 safety improvements to city fleet units, he believes it has already demonstrated its effectiveness.
“Using telematics alerts, New York City has already cut excessive speeding by fleet units in more than half,” Kerman said.
Bill S9528 is carrying traction with politicians and the need for a solution to traffic violence helps the bill position itself to become a law.