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California senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill this week that would require all new cars built or sold in the state starting in 2027 to be equipped with speed limiters. These limiters would prevent vehicles from exceeding posted speed limits by more than 10 mph.

SB 961 would include all passenger cars, commercial trucks, and buses. It also includes speed limiters on vehicles driven by the California State Highway Patrol.

Under the bill, people or entities could request to disable limiters. The commissioner would formally receive requests. Following a request, the official would have to determine if disabling would be “reasonable, practical, and would not pose a risk to public safety.” Written permission would need to be provided.

Emergency vehicles would be exempt.

In addition to speed limiting, SB 961 proposes another safety measure. Under the new bill, any motortruck, trailer, or semi-truck weighing more than 10,000 pounds must be equipped with side rails. Side rails prevent smaller cars from being sucked under the truck or trailer. This would apply to trucks and trailers that are built, sold, or registered in the state.

The senator, based out of San Francisco, submitted the bill in an effort to decrease speed-related fatalities in California.

How would the California speed limiters work? 

A speed limit 45 sign posted on a California street with palm trees in the background
Speed limit sign on a California Street | sanfel via iStock

According to the bill, “intelligent speed limiters” would track the GPS location of the vehicle. Devices would compare current speedometer readings to that of a database of speed limits. The devices would control driver speed passively at all times to not exceed 10 mph above the posted speed limit.

The bill also states how drivers, manufacturers, or franchisees can control the devices:

“An intelligent speed limiter system required by this section shall operate passively and shall only be capable of being temporarily disabled by the driver of the vehicle.”

“An intelligent speed limiter system shall be capable of being fully disabled by the manufacturer or a franchisee, but only as provided in Section 28172.”

In a post on X, Wiener stated, “All of these strategies — speed limiters, truck side guards, smart street designs — are proven safety strategies. It’s time for California to adopt them.”

Sources: Legiscan, National Review