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New Bill Advancing! Cali Seeks Required ‘Speed Governor’

California is making headlines in the automotive world with a groundbreaking proposal that could revolutionize driving habits and enhance road safety. A bill, SB961, has been gaining traction in the state’s Legislature, aiming to mandate new vehicles sold in California to automatically alert drivers when they exceed the speed limit by 10 mph. Spearheaded by State Senator Scott Wiener, the proposal seeks to address the alarming rate of traffic fatalities in the state, with an annual average of about 4,000 deaths attributed to car crashes, many of which involve speeding.

The original proposal initially called for the installation of speed governors using GPS technology (NEW CARS ARE TRACKING, SELLING YOUR PERSONAL DATA) to automatically limit speeds for drivers surpassing posted speed limits. However, the bill has undergone modifications, now advocating for the integration of a passive intelligent speed assistance (ISA) system. This system equips vehicles with tech that triggers visual and audio warnings when drivers exceed the speed limit.

If SB961 successfully passes through the Legislature and receives Governor Gavin Newsom’s approval. ISA requirement would be phased in, initially applying to half of private vehicles, trucks, and buses by the 2029 model year, with full implementation for all vehicles by the 2032 model year. Notably, the requirement excludes vehicles of earlier model years and those sold in other states.

The proposed ISA system would operate by issuing visual and audio warnings to drivers when they exceed the speed limit. For instance, a driver traveling at 55 mph on a road with a posted speed limit of 45 mph would receive alerts indicating their speed violation. These warnings, which may include beeps or other auditory cues, aim to remind motorists to adhere to speed limits and promote safer driving practices.

While supporters of SB961 advocate for the potential of speed detection technology to improve traffic safety, opponents raise concerns about its intrusive nature and potential distractions for drivers. Critics question ISA systems’ effectiveness, especially with a partial mandate for California vehicles. Additionally, there are apprehensions that recurring audio warnings could divert drivers’ attention from maintaining safe speeds, particularly in high-speed scenarios.

Despite the ongoing debate surrounding the bill, California’s initiative reflects broader trends in the automotive industry toward incorporating advanced safety features and technology into vehicles. As discussions on SB961 continue, the state remains at the forefront of efforts to enhance road safety and reduce traffic-related fatalities. Photo credit – Shutterstock