Are Speed Limiters Coming to American Cars?
Carscoops is reminding us that a law passed in 2019 is mandating that new cars introduced after 2022 must be fitted with speed limiters.
Here’s the good news, at least for us Yanks and Canucks — the law was passed by the European Union and applies to, well, Europe.
That said, Carscoops is sounding the alarm. Could speed limiters come to North America?
To be clear, the limiters don’t appear to make it physically impossible for drivers to go over the speed limit, but rather the tech uses things like flashing lights to get the driver’s attention so he/she can slow down.
While we applaud efforts to reduce accidents, we find tech limiting speed at this level to be a bridge too far. It’s one thing for automakers to limit speed at levels we’d never even attempt to attain on public roads — lots of cars are capped by the factory, usually at 155 — or to set a speed limiter to match the tires’ speed rating. It’s another to be this heavy-handed.
The tech supposedly uses a combo of GPS and traffic-sign recognition, and we’d point out that sometimes both technologies fail. We also don’t like the idea of having our speed clipped without providing for context — even those who mostly maintain the limit occasionally climb above to execute a pass more safely. And do I want my car screaming at me during a medical emergency that requires me to drive faster?
I get it. There are some birdbrains out there doing 50 in 25 mph residential zones where kids are playing, and that’s not cool. But context matters. Ten over on the interstate is less objectionable — and probably less dangerous — than 10 over in the congested city. And drivers should be able to make that choice for themselves, without a safety nanny scolding them.
Carscoops’ actual evidence for the emergence of this tech in America is thin — the site cites a video from a British motoring journalist and also makes the “hey it could happen here, but there’s no strong evidence it will” argument. I realize I could be simply aggregating a blog that’s mind to catch clicks on a slow news day in our own attempt to have content (and thus catch clicks).
Or this could be one of those creeping privacy invasions this site is constantly screaming about. Remember, even if the feds never do something like this, it could, in theory, be done at the state level, though I’d imagine OEMs would kick and scream to avoid building cars both for states with and without speed limiters, because of the extra cost of building vehicles with separate tech for differing states.
I can’t foresee these coming to America (or Canada). But we’ll keep a wary eye out just the same.
[Image: Svitlana Pimenov/Shutterstock.com]
Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
More by Tim Healey
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
- 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
- 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
- Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
- Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.