SAFER Roads Bill: The Game-Changing Proposal for Speed Limits in California

Everyone desires safer roads, but California Senator Scott Wiener is taking a bold step with the “SAFER” Roads bill. The proposal suggests electronically limiting new vehicle speeds to just 10 mph over the posted speed limit, among other measures.

Outlined in the Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction on California Streets (SAFER California Streets) bill, starting from 2027, all vehicles must be equipped with speed governors. These devices would rely on GPS technology to sync with a database of speed limits, though speed limit sign recognition could offer an alternative. The bill states that the electronic regulator can only be temporarily disabled by the driver, without specifying the circumstances for doing so.

Additional provisions in the bill include side underride guards on trucks, enhanced crosswalks, and curb extensions, all aimed at addressing the surge in reckless driving since the pandemic. According to TRIP, a transportation research nonprofit, California saw a 22% increase in traffic casualties from 2019 to 2022, with 4,400 deaths in 2022 alone.

Senator Wiener emphasizes the urgency of addressing the alarming rise in road deaths. He argues that preventing reckless speeding is a practical approach to curb unnecessary and heartbreaking crashes. Despite concerns about government overreach, Wiener defends the bill, stating that it aligns with existing speed limits, which are widely supported for safety reasons.

Wiener dismisses the notion of overreach, asserting that speed limits are essential for public safety. He contends that exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph is unnecessary, except for emergency vehicles exempted from the bill.

Anticipating resistance from those wary of government interference and car enthusiasts, Wiener remains steadfast. While questions linger about automakers’ perspectives on the plan, Wiener emphasizes the bill’s potential to save lives, even if it meets resistance from those who find joy in pushing the speed limits.

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