QOTD: Are You Willing to Let the Government Ride Shotgun?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd are you willing to let the government ride shotgun

It already does, in a sense, but you’re only punished for exceeding a posted speed limit if the long arm of the law catches you in the act.

Flashing lights in the rear-view or a photo radar ticket in the mailbox can ruin our day, but the relative absence of cops and cameras on most roadways means most of us can still “make good time” on our journeys. However, with pedestrian fatalities on the rise (and governments across the country looking for easy fixes), some lawmakers might find inspiration from Europe.

Just the other day, Ronnie told us of the decision by European Parliament to mandate speed limiters on all cars. Are you willing to drive Miss Daisy, all the time, to help your fellow man?

Depending on how negotiations shake out, within three years European drivers could find the government sitting rigidly in the passenger seat, berating their every move.

From Ronnie’s piece:

The speed limiters, which go by the euphemism Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), use GPS data and possibly traffic sign recognition to determine a road’s speed limit and then limit engine power to match that speed. While it’s possible to just press harder on the accelerator and go faster, if the car exceeds the speed limit for several seconds, an audible warning signal will sound, along with a visual warning displayed until speed is reduced to the legal limit.

Ever driven that first block without your seatbelt on? Those warnings get annoying in a hurry. It’s possible that some crafty European drivers will find a way to disable the warning, but what if that becomes another offense? What if law enforcement, your local government, and your insurance provider are made aware of speed violations and speed limiter tampering as a way of enforcing proper use? It’s not too wild a thought.

In the pursuit of safety (still a worthwhile goal, don’t get us wrong), many advocates are willing to tout dystopian solutions, and many lawmakers are just as willing to sign on. In Europe, especially. It’s no wonder Black Mirror is a UK program — just look how the country responded to Ford’s Mustang ads.

Here in North America, countless cities have already lowered default speed limits, only to entertain calls for further lowerings. 25 mph, then 20 mph … then what? The heat will soon be on to find a better solution, and the focus of advocates and lawmakers could fall on the vehicle itself.

Is this European experiment a future you’re willing to accept, or is it a step too far?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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2 of 86 comments
  • Charliej Charliej on Mar 02, 2019

    I live in a small town in Mexico. The speed limit on the highway through town is 24 mph. That equates to 40 kmph. The speed limit on streets away from the highway are limited to 20 kmph or 12 miles per hour. No one seems to mind. The 40 kmph speed on the main road is seldom reached as the traffic is bumper to bumper for most of the day. We are 30 miles south of Guadalajara, a city of several million in it's metropolitan area. A number of people from Guadalajara come through town every day causing traffic jams with walking pace traffic. The back streets set at 12 mph are cobblestone and very rough so no one speeds there either. When I take the car going to the other side of town, two miles away, it takes forty minutes to drive it. I usually just jump on the motor scooter and go that way. Two miles in about seven minutes. Two wheels is the way to go in heavy traffic.

  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Mar 04, 2019

    I think if ANY laws are enacted, it should be to increase penalties for people not paying attention at the wheel and far better drivers training and adherence to the rules and etiquette.

  • Bullnuke It may be awhile before these show up on US shores. The MV Fremantle Highway has just started demo/reconstruction in Rotterdam after the large fire when transporting its last shipment of electric Porsche products.
  • Fie on Fiasler Big, fast and thirsty does not equal good. True luxury is not cobbled together by the UAW.
  • Inside Looking Out I see it as gladiator races - only one survives in virtual world.
  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.