June 25, 2024
Industry News

California’s New Cars Could Notify Drivers of Speeding

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California may potentially align with the European Union in mandating all new vehicles to notify drivers when they surpass the speed limit, a measure aimed at decreasing traffic fatalities that could potentially impact drivers nationwide if enacted into law.

The federal government sets safety regulations for vehicles nationwide, leading to features like seatbelt warnings in most cars. A bill in the California Legislature — which passed its initial vote in the state Senate on Tuesday — would take it a step further by requiring all new cars sold in the state by 2032 to alert drivers when they exceed the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, the bill’s author, stated, “Research has shown that this does have an impact in getting people to slow down, particularly since some people don’t realize how fast their car is going.”

The bill narrowly passed on Tuesday, indicating the challenges it might face. Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle expressed concerns, mentioning that there are situations where people may need to drive faster than the speed limit in emergencies.

While the primary aim is to reduce traffic fatalities, the legislation is likely to have implications on all new car sales in the U.S. due to California’s significant auto market size, prompting car manufacturers to comply with the state’s law.

California has a history of influencing national and international policies. The state has established its own emission standards for cars for years, with over a dozen other states adopting similar rules. Additionally, major automakers announced plans to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles after California’s announcement to eventually ban the sale of new gas-powered cars.

The technology, known as intelligent speed assistance, uses GPS technology to compare a vehicle’s speed with posted speed limits. When the vehicle exceeds the speed limit by at least 10 mph, the system would emit a brief visual and audio signal to alert the driver.

The bill does not require California to maintain a list of posted speed limits, leaving it to manufacturers. This could potentially lead to conflicts due to discrepancies in local roads or recent speed limit changes.

If the system receives conflicting speed limit information, it is mandated to use the higher limit according to the bill.

Although not a new technology, intelligent speed assistance has been utilized in Europe for years. Starting later this year, the European Union will mandate the technology in all new cars sold there, with the option for drivers to disable it.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 10% of reported car crashes in 2021 were speed-related, with an 8% increase in speeding-related fatalities. California particularly faces challenges, with 35% of traffic fatalities in the state being speed-related — the second highest in the country, as per a legislative analysis.

In 2021, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended federal regulators to mandate all new cars to alert drivers about speeding incidents. This recommendation followed a tragic crash in January 2022 involving a driver with a history of speeding violations, resulting in multiple fatalities.

The NTSB’s recommendations hold no regulatory authority; they can only suggest measures.

FAQs

1. What is intelligent speed assistance technology?

Intelligent speed assistance technology uses GPS to compare a vehicle’s speed with posted speed limits and alerts the driver if the speed limit is exceeded by a certain threshold.

2. Can drivers disable the speed alert system?

In the European Union, drivers will have the option to disable the system in new cars sold there.

Conclusion

The proposed legislation in California to mandate speed limit alerts in new vehicles reflects ongoing efforts to enhance road safety and reduce traffic fatalities. While the bill faces challenges, its potential impact on national vehicle safety standards underscores the state’s influential role in shaping automotive regulations.

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