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New Vehicles to Come with Speed Limiters by 2027?

Speed limits from 2027 | Photo: Auto123
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Daniel Rufiange
A bill being introduced in California would regulate new cars starting in 2027

•   In California, new vehicles might need to have speed limiters as of 2027.

California State Senator Scott Weiner has proposed a new bill that is causing quite a stir in California. The bill seeks to impose on all new vehicles, as of 2027, speed limiters that would prevent them from driving at more than 10 mph (16 km/h) over the speed limit on freeways. 

If this bill passes, it's safe to say other states and other countries will take notice, not to mention carmakers and other stakeholders.

In California, the current posted speed limit is 70 mph (113 km/h), which means that vehicles would be set not to exceed 80 mph (129 km/h). 

The SAFER (Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction in California Streets) program is a package of bills, including SB 961, which will be released tomorrow. Essentially, it calls for the installation of speed limiters on new cars, SUVs and trucks built or sold in California beginning with 2027 model-year vehicles. 

Those vehicles will have to be equipped with an "intelligent speed limiter" that electronically prevents the driver from exceeding the legislated threshold.

The speed limiter technology would not apply to emergency vehicles. 

The bill also allows for the device to be temporarily disabled by the driver, but the situations in which this would be possible are not currently clarified. 

"I don't think it's at all an overreach, and I don't think most people would view it as an overreach, we have speed limits, I think most people support speed limits because people know that speed kills," said Rep. Wiener, as reported by California's ABC7.

The proposal aims to reduce traffic fatalities, which increased by 22 percent in the state between 2019 and 2022, as reported by the TRIP group, which specializes in transportation research.

Across the U.S., traffic fatalities have increased by about 25 percent over the past four or five years, with California alone seeing a 30 percent increase between 2017 and 2021. 

If the bill passes, California would be the first state in the country to require such a device.

There is no unanimity regarding the proposal; some claim it does not fully address the problem of drivers not taking their full responsibilities when at the wheel. What's more, in certain driving situations, it may be necessary to accelerate hard to avoid an accident. By limiting this ability, we may be putting certain road users at risk.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists