California legislation aims to add speed monitors to cars
California's new cars could have internal speed monitors starting in 2027 as state lawmakers seek to reduce traffic fatalities statewide.
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 number of pedestrian deaths nationwide.
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 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.
What they're saying: "We've all seen situations on our streets where a vehicle is speeding down a busy street with vulnerable people close by — at best it's unsettling, and at worst people lose their lives," Robin Pam, an organizer with KidSafe SF, said in a written statement.
Zoom in: In San Francisco, speed-related fatalities and serious injuries have risen over the past decade, traffic data show.
- 111 such fatalities and serious injuries were reported in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available.
- Among all crashes citywide in 2022, 317 caused serious injuries, 42 of which were fatal, according to the data.
Meanwhile, a city report last year found San Francisco had more traffic fatalities during the pandemic than in the three years preceding it.
- In that report, San Francisco's transportation agency noted its Vision Zero goal of having zero traffic-related fatalities in the city by this year would take longer.
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 such features in their newest models, per the Chronicle.
What to watch: As the Chronicle reports, the bill is likely to face some opposition from the auto industry.
- "There are times drivers may want to speed up enough to switch lanes, to move away from certain unsafe situations," Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told the Los Angeles Times.
- "Our preference is for drivers to have the maximum ability to do that. We don't think technology or even most well-intentioned regulations should obstruct that."
More San Francisco stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.