California Considers Mandating Technology to ‘Govern’ or Limit Speeds of Vehicles

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The state of California is considering a legislative proposal that could mandate the inclusion of “intelligent” speed restrictive technology in new vehicles. Inspired by a recent recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board, the proposed bill, introduced by San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener, aims to equip cars and trucks from the 2027 model year onward with speed governors. These governors would limit the vehicle’s speed to no more than 10 mph over posted speed limits.

If the bill is approved, vehicles built or sold in California would be required to incorporate this technology. The speed governors would use GPS data or car cameras to regulate speeds based on the specific location of the vehicle. For example, on state highways with a posted 70 mph speed limit, cars wouldn’t be able to exceed 80 mph. In residential neighborhoods with a 25 mph limit, motorists would need to keep their speed below 35 mph.

Some auto manufacturers, including Hyundai, already offer similar speed governor features in their latest models, with some drivers using them as a type of cruise control, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Senator Wiener justified the proposal by emphasizing the importance of adhering to speed limits, stating that the bill’s purpose is to prevent motorists from exceeding speed limits by more than 10 miles per hour. The legislation, if passed, would exempt emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks. Additionally, the California Highway Patrol would have the authority to disable speed governors on their vehicles at their discretion.

One of the driving factors behind the bill is the concern over the role of speed in traffic fatalities. Reports suggest that speed is a contributing factor in approximately one-third of traffic deaths nationwide, according to the National Safety Council. The National Highway Safety Administration estimated over 40,000 traffic fatalities in the year 2022, further emphasizing the need for measures to address speeding and enhance road safety.


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