Car speed limiters are gaining traction

Matt Levin Aug 22, 2022
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iStock / Getty Images Plus

Car speed limiters are gaining traction

Matt Levin Aug 22, 2022
iStock / Getty Images Plus
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New York City has put high-tech speed governors on some city-owned vehicles, which prevent cars from going much faster than the local speed limit. It’s part of a growing movement to put speed limiters on new cars, a movement the auto industry isn’t too thrilled with.

American pop culture does not respect speed limits. 

Equating speeding with fun is part of the reason speed limiters aren’t on every car already, said Leah Shahum with the transportation safety group Vision Zero Network. 

“The advertising of cars has just ingrained in our brain that this is some natural step of freedom,” Shahum said.

Speed limiters have been around since the early 1900s. But Shahum said the idea is gaining momentum now because of a spike in traffic deaths during the pandemic. 

While the number of cars on the road declined, “what that seemed to do though was give people who were on the road this space, literally, to go a lot faster,” Shahum said.

Speed-limiting tech has gotten better too. Systems now can use geolocation to change how fast a car can go in different places. 

But having only new cars on the road with that tech won’t solve speeding overnight, said Thomas Hundal with the auto website The Autopian. 

“Let’s say, drop of a hat, every vehicle 2023 model and later needs a speed limiter. Well, the average vehicle age in the United States is a shade over 13 years old,” Hundal said.

Some speed limiter skeptics say mixing slower-driving new cars with faster old ones could make traffic more dangerous. Last month, a new European rule went into effect mandating speed limiters on new cars. Although the limiters are pretty limited, drivers can override them easily.

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