Speeding behavior while using adaptive cruise control and lane centering in free flow traffic

Monfort, Samuel S. / Reagan, Ian J. / Cicchino, Jessica B. / Hu, Wen / Gershon, Pnina / Mehler, Bruce / Reimer, Bryan
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
February 2022

Objective: Adaptive cruise control (ACC) and lane centering are usually marketed as convenience features but may also serve a safety purpose. However, given that speeding is associated with increased crash risk and worse crash outcomes, the extent to which driver’s speed using ACC may reduce the maximum safety benefit they can obtain from this system. The current study was conducted to characterize speeding behavior among drivers using adaptive cruise control and a similar system with added lane centering.
Methods: We recruited 40 licensed adult drivers from the Boston, Massachusetts, metro area. These drivers were given either a 2017 Volvo S90 or a 2016 Range Rover Evoque to use for about 4 weeks.
Results: Drivers were significantly more likely to speed while they used ACC (95%) relative to periods of manual control (77%). A similar pattern arose for drivers using ACC with added lane centering (96% vs. 77%). Drivers who traveled over the posted limit with these systems engaged also sped slightly faster than drivers controlling their vehicle manually. Finally, we found that these differences were the most pronounced on limited-access roads with a lower speed limit (55 mph).
Conclusions: These findings point to a possible obstacle to obtaining the full safety potential from this advanced vehicle technology. Any consideration of the net safety effect of ACC and lane centering should account for the effects of more frequent and elevated speeding.

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