In car commercials, you’ll often see text that says “Professional Driver on a Closed Course.” Please do not try.” When displaying a vehicle performing some amazing stunts.
Experts are questioning whether this boilerplate is enough, as the car burns rubber in the background.
The National Transportation Safety Board requested a study of automobile advertisements last month. They said the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety would try to determine whether there is a correlation between car commercials showing unsafe driving behavior and actual speeding or recklessness.
In a statement given to NBC News, Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the NTSB said that “nearly one third of our road deaths are related to speeding. This type of advertising is dangerous because it encourages a culture of excessive speeding which costs lives.” “Everyone, including vehicle manufacturers, shares the responsibility for road safety.”
David Zuby is the chief researcher at IIHS. He says that if there’s a link between crashes and commercials showing dangerous driving, it will be difficult to prove. Zuby’s group is still working on ways to determine if there could be any link between dangerous driving commercials and crashes.
He told NBC that “it probably does not help driver behaviour to see everyday cars driven aggressively.”
The NTSB made a number of observations in a report on , a crash that occurred in Las Vegas in January 2022 and killed nine people.
Homendy, and the NTSB does not suggest that car advertisements were solely to blame for this crash. The agency’s report stated that Gary Dean Robinson had been impaired by PCP and cocaine, and had a past of speeding. He was speeding on a street with a 35 mph limit at the time. He struck a Toyota Sienna with seven people inside, including four kids. Robinson, along with a passenger of his car and all seven people died.
The NTSB suggested a number of concrete steps. These included that regulators should consider implementing an “intelligent speed assistance system that electronically limits speed of the vehicle” and that states prioritize reducing repeat offenses of speeding.
Experts are redesigning city plans and street designs in order to reduce dangerous driving, and make the roads safer for pedestrians.
Col. Matt Langer, of the Minnesota State Patrol, said that drivers began taking more risks at the height when the pandemic was in full swing and roads were relatively quiet. Although the number of motorists on the roads has returned to normal levels, the way they drive has not.
He said that the roads are now more dangerous today than they were 5 years ago, and that some of the traffic safety progress we had made in the US has been wiped out.
Langer, also chair of the road safety committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), said that speeding can make other problems worse, such as impairment or not wearing seatbelts.
We have a huge problem with speeding drivers in the United States and around the globe. He said that it was causing all sorts of problems.
The idea to address car advertising is just one suggestion. What’s clear, however, is that this report was released at a moment when there are growing concerns over the behavior of drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is separate from the independent NTSB and is part of the Department of Transportation, reports that the number of deaths in auto accidents increased by 27% between 2012 and 2021. This is the latest year for which the data was reported.
Zuby said, “It is becoming more widely accepted that the rise in road fatalities over the past decade has been largely due to poor driving behavior or risk-taking behaviors.”
Even if there’s no connection between car commercials and dangerous driving, he says that auto companies make choices that make driving even more dangerous.
Zuby, a highway safety expert who has been in the field since 1986, said that horsepower levels have increased dramatically. He said that automakers were competing with each other to be the best in recent years. For example, some Dodge Charger models have engines that produce nearly 1,000 horsepower.
He asked, “What is the point in selling a car with 1,000 horsepower to someone who will drive it on a road?”
Accidents involving pedestrians also result in more deaths. Zuby explained that this is due to the increasing sales of SUVs, especially large and tall ones, and some cities encouraging people to walk and bike more, resulting in more pedestrian traffic.
Zuby, a spokesperson for the IIHS, says that while it is known for its crash tests and for evaluating automaker safety claims, they are now considering more drastic measures.
He said: “We have never recommended a vehicle that we thought had an irresponsibly strong engine, but this is what we are talking about. Deaths are on the rise. Speeding appears to be a major contributor.