New legislation could make driving American roads much safer

A new bill introduced in California might affect how fast motorists get to places in their cars.

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California State Sen. Scott Weiner speaks during a press conference at Alamo Square Park, San Francisco. 

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Introduced into the state’s legislature on Jan. 23, part of the Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction on California Streets, or SAFER California Streets bill by California State Sen. Scott Weiner will require all cars sold in California starting in 2027 to be equipped with what it calls an “intelligent speed limiter system.”

As written in the bill, such a speed limiter system would use GPS technology to restrict one’s ability to drive at an excessive speed. Such a system would use a car’s GPS location to determine what road it is traveling on and match it to a database of posted speed limits to cap the car’s maximum speed to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. 

A similar system is already in use within the European Union, as Intelligent Speed Assistance technology has been mandated in all vehicles since July 2022. According to the European Commission, ISA does not override the actual car, but suggests to the driver not to go over the speed limit by warning the driver through sound or by making it harder to push down on the throttle. 

This photo taken on Oct. 31, 2023 shows the Bay Bridge across San Francisco Bay.

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“The ISA system is required to work with the driver and not to restrict his/her possibility to act in any moment during driving,” says the Commission. “The driver is always in control and can easily override the ISA system.”

In the text of the California bill, it says that the regulator “shall only be capable of being temporarily disabled by the driver of the vehicle,” but does not give any specific examples how it would be possible. It also states that emergency vehicles will be exempt from the bill.

The California senator cites the rise of reckless driving as the reason for the bills inception, noting that the prevention of speeding can save lives.

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“The alarming surge in road deaths is unbearable and demands an urgent response,” Wiener said in a statement. “There is no reason for anyone to be going over 100 miles per hour on a public road, yet in 2020, California Highway Patrol issued over 3,000 tickets for just that offense. Preventing reckless speeding is a commonsense approach to prevent these utterly needless and heartbreaking crashes.”

In regards to concerns about the bill being an example of government overreach, the state senator disagrees.

“I don’t think it’s at all an overreach, and I don’t think most people would view it as an overreach, we have speed limits, I think most people support speed limits because people know that speed kills,” he told ABC’s Bay Area Affiliate.

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