Jan 30, 2024 - Politics

California's new cars could come with their own speed limits

Illustration of a gavel as the gear shift in a car

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

California's new cars could have internal speed monitors starting in 2027 as state lawmakers seek to reduce traffic fatalities statewide.

Driving the news: State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced bills last week that would require all new vehicles built or sold in California to have speed governors smart devices that automatically prevent a car from going 10mph over the legal limit.

  • Of note: California would be the first state to require cars be equipped with speed-limiting technology, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Why it matters: The proposed legislation aims to combat traffic-related deaths, which are spiking in California and nationwide, rising to what the U.S. Department of Transportation called a "national crisis."

  • A recent study suggests slower speeds on major roads could also help reduce the nationwide scourge of pedestrian deaths.

Zoom in: In San Diego County, speed-related fatalities and serious injuries have risen over the past decade, traffic data show.

  • 425 such fatalities and serious injuries were reported in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available.

By the numbers: Among all crashes countywide in 2021, 1,351 caused serious injuries, 315 of which were fatal, data show.

  • The city saw 523 such crashes with 119 fatalities.

Be smart: You can look up the number and type of traffic collisions in individual San Diego neighborhoods.

Between the lines: The city's goal is to have zero traffic-related fatalities and injuries by 2025 by implementing various safety initiatives in its Vision Zero plan. And county planners are using a mapping tool that identifies dangerous areas.

Zoom out: Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended a federal mandate of speed-limiting technology and warning systems.

Several auto manufacturers, including Hyundai, already offer speed governor features in their newest models, per the Chronicle.


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