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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