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California Bill Would Require Car Devices to Automatically Reduce Speeds

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Citing the number of traffic deaths caused by speeding, a San Francisco state senator wants new cars to have speed governors starting in 2027. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Citing the number of traffic deaths because of speeding, a San Francisco state senator wants new cars sold in the Golden State to go slower.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced SB 961, requiring “that all new vehicles sold in California install speed governors, smart devices that automatically limit a vehicle’s speed to 10 miles above the legal limit.”

“The alarming surge in road deaths is unbearable and demands an urgent response,” Wiener said in a news release. “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.”

The bill would require car models starting in 2027 to install the limiting device. It would exempt emergency vehicles.

The intelligent speed limiter system would use the GPS location of the vehicle and compare it to a database of posted speed limits. Then it would automatically limit how fast the vehicle could travel.

Groups Offer Doubt, Support

The industry group Alliance for Automotive Innovation wants to see additional methods to reduce speeding deaths.

“We agree more can and should be done to reduce excessive speeding on roadways. This can be addressed by adopting a ‘safe system’ approach that focuses on expanded enforcement of speeding laws and driver education/awareness. There should also be a focus on funding and building transportation infrastructure that supports advanced vehicle safety technologies (like those suggested in the legislation) and a regulatory framework to enable automated driving systems designed to comply with speed limits,” an AAI spokesperson said.

The National Traffic Safety Board endorsed the idea of a limiting system last year.

Wiener cited safety figures that fatal crashes increase at higher speeds.

The bill would also require trucks weighing more than five tons to be equipped with underside guard rails.

Introduced on Jan. 23, the bill will be assigned to the Senate Rules Committee for further assignment and can be acted upon no earlier than Feb. 23.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email