Six Arguments Against ‘Speed ​​Limiting’ Technology and How to Override Them – Streetsblog USA

Europe is poised to put “Smart Speed ​​Assist” technology in all new cars to slow drivers down to local limits, and even some US states are hoping to do the same. But the moment “speeders” are mentioned, tempers flare and it could make the move to throttle American drivers a tough fight to win.

today in The brake, We asked mobility researcher David Zipper to give us a breakdown of the most common speed-limiting technologies available today and share how he addresses six of the most common concerns about them, from the valid to the downright silly.

Listen to our full conversation below, on Apple Podcasts or wherever else you get your audio. And for those who don’t have time to tune in, we’ve posted below a cheat sheet of some of the most common objections to speed governors.

1. What if I need to get to the hospital in a hurry or pass a slow moving vehicle on a two-lane road?

Outside of high-octane medical soap operas and professional paramedics, most people don’t regularly find themselves rushing people to the emergency room. But show a speed bump, and tons of people will claim that they personally have to break the speed limit to get a pregnant woman to the hospital before she gives birth. Zipper isn’t buying it.

“Well, my first point, I guess, is how often does that happen? And on the other hand, why do we have ambulances? he said. “But more importantly, [even the Intelligent Speed Assist] The systems I am familiar with have an override button that can be used in certain situations for limited periods of time when there is a genuine reason to exceed the speed limit.”

Zipper says the handy button would work just as well in the few seconds it might take to safely pass a slow-moving vehicle on a rural two-lane highway, though it wouldn’t and shouldn’t allow motorists to flaunt the local maximum for long.

“That said, these ISA systems still have a hard limit on how fast the vehicle can go, period,” he added. “So that could be set to, say, 90 miles per hour; under no circumstances can this level be exceeded. And that, to me, makes a lot of sense. We live in a country where the highest speed limit anywhere is 85 miles per hour, and that’s just for a particular stretch of highway in Texas; everywhere is lower than that. So I’m still puzzled as to why so many cars can physically go up to 155 miles per hour.”

2. What if I need to pass a dangerous person whose vehicle It is not limited speed?

According to speed bump opponents, the only thing more common than amateur ambulance drivers are amateur Vin Diesels who would surely lose their lives in a car chase the moment a speed limiter was imposed on them. However, Zipper reminds us that action movies aren’t exactly real life, and even when people do exceptionally dangerous things, having traffic slow can make everyone safer.

“The beauty of a speed limiter is that the safety benefits extend beyond the vehicles that have it installed,” he said. “Especially in an urban environment where there is limited road space, a car speeding will force all the cars behind it to speed as well… I actually think it’s great to have a certain group of cars with ISA installed [driving alongside] cars that don’t have it.”

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More specifically, a high-tech speed limiter could one day physically prevent even the most hardcore criminals from committing speed-related offences, which would mean that, in theory, innocent people would not be forced to fight for survival.

“All ISAs do is stop you from doing something that is illegal,” Zipper added. “I think it’s important to keep that in mind here; no one is restricting your ability to drive legally. They just say you can’t drive illegally— in which case you are putting other people’s lives at risk, in addition to your own.”

3. What about privacy?

A common misconception about smart speed limiters is that they will telegraph your driver’s every move to the government, ushering in a terrifying new era of data surveillance the world has never seen.

The problem with that logic, however, is that the cars, and of course the cell phones, that American drivers plug directly into those cars. Already collect vast amounts of data about its occupants to monitor vehicle safety performance. Fortunately, much of that data is nearly impossible to hack, but even if it weren’t, the number on the speed limit sign that a motorist passes is one of the least sensitive data points that a car is collecting.

Zipper says even the most privacy-conscious countries don’t see a good reason not to use that single data point to save lives.

“I’m not sure they’re as concerned about privacy as they are about being able to drive unrestricted when they’re behind the wheel themselves,” he added. “So I guess I would say, look at Europe, which, as we said, has now required ISA by 2024 on all new cars. Europe has much stricter privacy rules than we do, and they are okay with that.”

4. What happens if the speed limiter fails?

Another common misconception about all types of speed limiters is that they are prone to mechanical failure that can endanger their drivers.

However, as Zipper has pointed out before, old-school speed limiters are actually cheap, easy-to-install hardware that puts a limit on the physical capabilities of your engine. And even the Intelligent Speed ​​Assist system uses a hard-to-fool technology called “geofencing” that tells the car when a speed limit has changed, rather than cameras that might have a hard time reading physical cues, like those other automated vehicle technologies.

“You don’t really need cameras to be able to figure out what the speed limit is when you’re driving your car on a given road,” he added. “The general idea here is that the mapping system already knows what the prevailing speed limit is where you are, as long as it knows where you are. And frankly, that’s as far as the system will probably have to go.”

Even if certain types of ISA do, Ultimately, they have some problems to work out, with Zipper emphasizing that they almost certainly won’t make US streets any more dangerous than they are now.

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“Let’s be very clear: We have a status quo right now where more than 10,000 Americans die per year due to speed-related accidents,” he said. “So it’s not like we’re starting from a point where we’re no longer facing horrific loss of life and destruction… Every idea that’s being put forward as to how we can address this issue, whether it’s a speed limiter or whether it’s a highway diet, you’ve got somebody dreaming up a scenario where they say, ‘Well, what if you do unsafe in scenario X, Y or Z which could come up once every 30 years?’ Frankly, we [just can’t afford to] paralyze us with that kind of debate.”

5. Don’t we need to limit the speed? infrastructure more than speed limit cars?

Of course no city actually needs speed limiters on vehicles to slow down drivers, because speed-dissuading infrastructure such as road allowances and speed bumps can already do so. However, Zipper says he’s not afraid the ISA will distract from the equally important fight to save lives with good city design.

“It’s not one or the other, not at all; I would love to see the entire country go on a massive binge on road diets and safe street redesigns that can reduce road deaths,” he added. “But the reality is that, [building safe infrastructure] it costs billions of dollars and takes many years to implement. And the fact that we have technology right now, in speed limiters, that could save lives tomorrow, to me, there’s no reason not to do it.”

He also points out that Americans generally don’t have the same concerns about adding speed limiters to their cars. other types of vehicles, such as electric bicycles, even if the construction of exclusive lanes would also make the streets safer for everyone.

“It’s really absurd to me that we already have smart speed assist installed on vehicles like scooters that weigh literally 45 pounds…but hardly ever on personally owned cars and trucks,” he said. “It’s not that this technology is somehow unknown. It’s just that for some reason, in the United States in particular, we’re reluctant to apply it to the most dangerous types of vehicles on our highways and streets.”

6. But what about our freedom?

Perhaps the most vexing argument against speed limiters, however, is that Americans should have the “freedom” to make decisions about how they move in their communities, even if those decisions sometimes directly endanger others.

Needless to say, Zipper disagrees.

“This is about addressing … behavior that puts at risk the freedom of every American to be able to use a street or highway without someone else putting their life at risk,” he said. “[You remember] those people who were trying to move through Slauson and La Brea a few weeks ago when another driver sped by at almost 100 miles per hour, hit them and killed six people? not seem their my freedom was respected”.

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