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Just because a speed is set higher than the limit doesn’t necessarily mean the driver intends to speed however, since adaptive cruise control is specifically designed to match the speed of vehicle in front, and mimic their speed. This means if the driver ahead decides to speed up, your ACC setting has to be higher than the limit so the sensors can stay locked on.
Although the IIHS hasn’t come to any firm conclusions as a result of the study, it’s interesting to take a look at technology that is more and more often being made standard on new vehicles and marketed as a “safety feature” and questioning whether it’s helping people drive better or not.
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How Adaptive Cruise Control Impacts Rates of Speeding
IIHS researchers studied 40 drivers for four weeks to see how having adaptive cruise control affected driving behavior. They gave drivers a vehicle that included adaptive cruise control. Researchers found that driver who used adaptive cruise control were 24 percent more likely to speed on highways than those who had the systems turned off. Additionally, they were more likely to speed more miles per hour above the speed limit than the drivers whose systems were turned off.
The IIHS study did not give an opinion about why ACC may cause drivers to speed. However, one theory is that because some ACC systems adjust speeds by 5-mph increments, a driver may be encouraged someone to set the system for 5 or 10 mph above the speed limit Additionally, some drivers use ACC to keep pace with traffic during high congestion, which may cause them to maintain higher speeds.