Speed Limiters Proposed

By Jose Cervantes

A proposed state senate bill could make California the first state to require speed-limiting technology on new vehicles.

State Senator Scott Weiner has introduced the Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction (SAFER) on California Streets package to increase the safety of drivers and pedestrians on California roads. Senate Bill 961 introduces the use of speed limiters or “speed governors.”

A majority of new vehicles, including personal, commercial, and utility, sold or manufactured in California would require a speed limiter starting in 2027 if passed.

Active speed limiters would cap a vehicle’s speed to not exceed a certain threshold such as a generalized 10 MPH additional threshold over the speed limit on most California roads, including a maximum of 10 MPH over the speed limit on highways.

The vehicle would be equipped with GPS technology or camera sensors to determine the speed limit of a road and reduce the vehicle’s speed if it exceeded the threshold.

Passive speed limiters would not control the speed of the car and would instead alert the driver when they have exceeded the road speed limit. This could potentially include audio and visual cues from the dashboard.

Navigation apps, such as Google Maps, already have an option to chime when the app detects that the vehicle has exceeded the speed limit and acts as a passive speed limiter.

Weiner told the Los Angeles Times that drivers should not have a reason to “routinely be allowed to drive more than 10 MPH above the speed limit.”

According to the National Transport Safety Board, 12,330 fatalities were the result of speeding in 2021 nationwide which is one-third of all traffic fatalities. The NTSB had also advocated for speed limiters in a Nov. 2023 press release.

The European Union will soon mandate passive speed limiters starting in July of this year after it was passed in 2019.

The driver would have an option to temporarily disable the speed limiter which would be necessary for times of emergency and urgency.

The California Vehicle Code (CVC) does not automatically apply to private recreational racetracks, and thus the speed limiter might knowingly deactivate itself.

SB-961 also introduces regulations for trucks weighing 5 tons or more to require guardrails to prevent vehicles from being trapped on the underside of them during collisions.

The bill does not apply to vehicles sold or manufactured before 2027 and certain emergency vehicles such as ambulances are exempt from the use of speed limiters.

The companion bill, SB-960, would require Caltrans to make streets and surfaces more accessible to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, individuals with disabilities, and transit riders by creating new crosswalks and curb extensions.

The bill also streamlines a dedicated bus road to improve transit reliability and efficiency.

The SAFER on California Streets initiative is part of recent legislative efforts to thwart speeding-related accidents such as Assembly Bill 645 which will install traffic cameras in “high accident” areas across 18 locations, including in the city of Long Beach.

Senator Weiner is the principal coauthor for AB-645 which has taken effect since Jan. 1, 2024.


Add new comment


Copyright 2024 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.