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California bill would limit cars to 10 mph over the speed limit

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(The Center Square) – New cars in California could be limited to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit if a newly-introduced bill passes.

While the bill author credits the 22% increase in California’s traffic deaths between 2019 and 2022 to speeding, other experts contend that speeding is on the rise due to lack of traffic enforcement after a policing pullback starting in 2020.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D–San Francisco, introduced a new bill to both require new cars sold in California to have speed governors limiting maximum vehicle speed to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, every vehicle over 10,000 pounds to have side guards to lower truck and trailer ground clearance, and the streamline the creation of transit priority lanes such as bus-only lanes.

The European Union will require cars sold starting in July 2024 within the international union to to “ warn drivers when they have surpassed the legal speed limit of a specific roadway through alarms or accelerator resistance.”

“Preventing reckless speeding is a commonsense approach to prevent these utterly needless and heartbreaking crashes,” said Wiener in a statement.

However, some experts say that the significant increase in speeding is driven by decreases in traffic stops. Should this be the case, increased policing, rather than new vehicle requirements, could prove more effective in reducing speeding-related deaths.

“In Seattle, traffic stops are down 90% from the pre-pandemic average; in New York City, almost 40%; in St. Louis, 22% since 2019 and 47% since 2009,” said economist Justin Fox, former executive editor of Harvard Business Review, in an essay published by Bloomberg. “Traffic enforcement saves lives, and fixating on the racial disparities in traffic enforcement risks ignoring the deadly racial disparities that appear to result from no enforcement.”

Noting that other advanced countries have also adopted smartphones, Fox said, “The recent US experience with traffic fatalities seems to be unique.”

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