3/15/2005NHTSA Administrator Calls for Speeding Crackdown
NHTSA chief Jeffrey Runge wants speed cameras front and center in a federalized speed crackdown.
National Highway Transportation Agency Administrator Jeffrey Runge says he will now turn his attention toward speeding. The federal agency in the past has focused its efforts on issues such as drunk driving, seat belt usage and reducing rollover accidents.
The new federal speeding crackdown comes despite a recent announcement that traffic fatalities have reached an all-time low. The source of Runge's concern, instead, is the increasing availability and advertising of high-horsepower vehicles from both foreign and domestic automakers.
In remarks to a "Lifesavers" luncheon in North Carolina yesterday, Runge cited speeding as an "emerging new priority for NHTSA" and called for the spread of cameras across the country. "Innovative tools such as automated speed enforcement can augment the effectiveness of traditional patrol methods, especially in difficult areas," he said.
The federal government's decision to take aim at speeding comes as the auto industry is promoting high horsepower and 0-to-60 mph acceleration with a vigor that recalls the muscle-car era of the late 1960s. General Motors Corp., for example, is touting a new line of Cadillac cars that can accelerate from 0-to-60 mph in less than five seconds. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group is racking up profit and market-share gains on its heavily promoted "Hemi" V-8 engines. Ford Motor Co. plans to unveil a pumped-up version of its Mustang sport coupe at next week's New York Auto Show.