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California Weighs Mandating Vehicle Speed Limiters

Like other states, California is grappling with a problem of drivers who think they’re on the Autobahn in Europe and can drive whatever speed they please. While some argue that speed really isn’t as dangerous as some portray, we do know that excessive speed cuts down a driver’s time to react to obstacles ahead and can make crashes far more violent.

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But not everyone, including people who believe the speeding problem needs a resolution, is comfortable with the government mandating vehicle speed limiters in all new cars. But that’s exactly what the legislature in California has been weighing doing as Senate Bill 961 sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco recently passed the Senate Transportation Committee 8-4 on April 23.

As it’s currently written, the bill would require that automakers include a system which automatically alerts drivers with an audio and visual warming when they’re going 10 mph over the speed limit, reports San Francisco Chronicle.

That might sound like a great thing to some people, but we have some issues with that and surely we’re far from the only ones. After all, in modern vehicles there’s always something squawking at you, so this would just add to the noise. Some will find it annoying, but we think a lot of drivers will just plain ignore it, whatever the sound the warning makes.

Also, we know from experience that many maps with GPS guidance don’t get the speed limit transitions on roads correct. Sometimes it insists the speed limit hasn’t changed even though road signs make it clear it has. We see this all the time.

You could be within the legal posted limit and yet still trigger the government-mandated warning. That renders it useless as well as annoying.

Plus, there are real questions about whether or not so many warnings displayed in modern vehicles, like lane keep assist, blindspot monitoring, etc., actually distract drivers from paying attention to their surroundings.

While some might wonder why we care what California does, we know when something like this is mandated by such a large state it’s then pushed on consumers everywhere. That’s happened before since so many cars are sold in the Golden State. So the rest of us will have to live with this annoying vehicle feature all because a legislature who doesn’t even represent us might pass this into law.

We seem to recall a tea party at a harbor being thrown over taxation without representation. What would those people think about such government nanny devices in private vehicles today?

Thankfully, the bill was changed from how it was previously written. Originally it mandated speed governors which were GPS activated, keeping drivers from exceeding the posted limit on different stretches of road.

A chime or beep or whatever is annoying, but at least if you want to push past the speed limit you still can. And you can get pulled over for it. But we do love freedom, especially when it comes to driving. That doesn’t mean we believe everyone should drive 100+ mph but we’re also not big fans of authoritarian government mandates, either.

Image via Chevrolet

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