Every new car has a limited top speed programmed in at the factory, but for most, it’s usually deep into triple-digit numbers that most people never see. A proposed bill in California could drastically change the way automakers limit vehicle speeds, as one state senator wants to keep vehicles traveling within 10 mph of the speed limit.
California senator Scott Wiener’s Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction (SAFER) bill would go into effect in 2027 and require all cars sold there to come with speed governors. The bill proposes using GPS to track location and a database of posted speed limits to determine the appropriate cap. Drivers would be able to temporarily disable the governor, but the bill doesn’t detail the situations in which that could happen.
While this part of the bill will undoubtedly be unpopular, other parts should be welcomed. Wiener wants side underride guards on semi trucks, updated crosswalks, and new curbs. An alarming 4,400 people died in traffic accidents in 2022 in California, so parts of the bill could make a significant impact on safety in the state.
This feels like a bit of an overreach, but California isn’t the first entity to consider severely limiting vehicle speeds. A few years ago, Volvo announced that its vehicles would be limited to 112 mph for safety, and owners can set the governor even lower for inexperienced younger drivers. Of course, there are situations in which driving more than 112 mph or 10 mph above the speed limit would be warranted, so it will be interesting to see how California implements the bill if it passes.
[Image: Felipe Sanchez via Shutterstock]
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