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California Passes Law Requiring New Cars to Beep at You for Exceeding the Speed Limit

By the end of the decade, cars in California could alert you if you exceed the speed limit. The state’s Senate passed new legislation on Wednesday requiring all vehicles sold or manufactured in California to have passive speed limiters beginning in 2027. It’s asking that half of all new vehicles have the technology by 2029 before all cars are required to have it beginning in 2032.

The passive system, which the law doesn’t require on emergency vehicles, would alert the driver if they exceeded a road’s speed limit by 10 miles per hour, issuing audible and visual warnings to slow down. The new regulation passed after the US National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration require intelligent speed assistant (ISA) technology on new cars that warn drivers of speeding. It must still pass a vote in the California Assembly before it becomes law, which must happen by August 31.

The law’s goal is to reduce speeding-related crashes and fatalities. One-third of California’s traffic deaths between 2017 and 2021 were blamed on speeding.

“These deaths are preventable,” the bill’s sponsor, Scott Wiener, said in a statement. He went onto point out that policy choices allowed these deaths to happen.

ISAs, available in passive and active forms, arrived in France as early as the 1980s. Passive systems don’t prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit, while active systems physically limit vehicle speeds, make it hard or impossible to go over the limit.

California’s law, SB 961, is similar to a rule going into effect in the European Union this year, which will require all cars sold in the region to have passive limiters that alert the driver audibly and visually. Volvo famously announced in 2020 that it’d voluntarily governor its new vehicles to 112 mph. 

You can read the bill here.

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