Speed limit signs remind speeding cars to slow down; but speed limiter technology now being tested in New York City has been developed to disable a driver’s ability to accelerate.
Through its fleet program, New York City will be the first city in the United States to use speed limiter technology as a means to keep cars driving at and not beyond speed limits in its city-owned vehicles. Fleet program vehicles will notify drivers with an alarm that the car has reached the speed limit or cut off the accelerator.
Speaking to CNN, Deputy Mayor of New York City for Operations Meera Joshi called the accelerator cut-off “a dead pedal.” Drivers will still have the option to override the cut-off and manually speed up the vehicle for 15 seconds with the press of a button under the steering wheel to merge lanes or keep up with the flow of traffic.
New York City’s speed limiters use Telematics, which “combines navigation, safety, security and communication into one convenient piece of technology that fits in a vehicle’s dashboard,” according to Telematics Technology’s website. Headquartered in Garden Grove, Calif., Telematics stores data on local speed limits to cross-reference with a car’s GPS position.
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New York’s implementation comes on the heels of a report by the National Transportation Safety Board to the federal government requesting a way to incentivize vehicle manufacturers to implement speed limiter systems into new cars, according to CNN.
The plan also follows an increase in traffic fatalities this year. In September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 20,175 people died in motor vehicle crashes between January and June 2022.
“We need to be at the forefront,” Joshi said to CNN. “There’s no reason today with so much technology and so much awareness that anybody should die at the hands of an automobile.”
Some critics told CNN they thought of the plan as “intrusive and invasive,” and iSeeCars.com analyst Karl Brauer said some consumers will see this plan as an overreach. Nevertheless, he said to CNN, he sees the speed limiter plan as a sign of the future.
“It’s a preview of coming attractions and probably an unavoidable one,” he said.