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Transportation Government News Technology

Australia, UK To Test Vehicle Speed-Limiting Devices 859

nemesisrocks writes "The New South Wales government is set to begin testing a device that will limit the speed of drivers because 'excessive speed is one of the primary ways that people are killed while driving.' Located on the dashboard, it senses a driver's speed with the use of GPS. If the speed of a car goes over the posted legal limit, a warning sounds. If the driver ignores the warning, the device eventually cuts all power to the car because a cut-off switch has been installed between the accelerator and the engine." The Times Online reports that the same system will be tested in the UK this summer for use in taxis and buses.
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Australia, UK To Test Vehicle Speed-Limiting Devices

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  • by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:20AM (#28025007) Journal

    ... what could possibly go wrong?

  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:21AM (#28025031) Homepage Journal

    One of the biggest problems with current GPS detection devices is lack of context.

    The GPS needs to know the direction and actual road/lane I am driving in.

    I get warnings about speed cameras and told to slow down - just because I am passing UNDER a 30mph road travelling in a different direction on a motorway (70mph).

  • by GigaHurtsMyRobot ( 1143329 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:23AM (#28025065) Journal
    This is idiotic... Cars already come with limiters usually based on the capabilities of the tires. All the cars I've owned would have the accelerator fail past ~115mph. If they want to lower that to ~85 or so that's one thing, but killing all power to the car is ridiculous.
  • bad assumption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by berashith ( 222128 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:25AM (#28025087)

    This is a common idea that speed is the cause of the crash. Speed can make a crash worse of course, but the most common danger on highways that I see is people driving close together because one person is driving too slow in a fast lane. The bunched up traffic scares the hell out of me.

  • by Draque ( 1367509 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:26AM (#28025099)
    This fails to address either the legitimate need for speedy travel (medical emergencies, birth, etc.) and the possibility of error on the part of the system. If the system is taught that a particular road has a speed limit of 10kph when in reality, the limit is 50, it's going to do nothing but inconvenience people.
  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:28AM (#28025117)
    If they mandated a device which prevented people driving when fatigued, or had a pint, or when distracted, or when it's raining, the kinds of things that cause most accidents, it'd be a huge civil liberties breach. I mean, there's no legal prohibition to driving when you're a little tired or a little drunk or listening to NPR or there's a bit of drizzle, but you'd make them de facto illegal if you installed a device that prevented people from driving in that state. There is a legal prohibition to driving over the limit, though.
  • by FTWinston ( 1332785 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:30AM (#28025153) Homepage
    You wouldn't possibly be implying that someone was grossly exaggerating the figures to hype up their own pet cause, would you? In this day and age, that would be simply unimaginable.
  • by Icegryphon ( 715550 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:30AM (#28025159)
    The electrical Component which does runs this malfunctions and causes all sorts of Havoc on the driver,
    God forbid causes a wreck, then they can sue the hell out of the government and car companies.
    Freaking Nanny statism is getting under my skin.
  • by sam0737 ( 648914 ) <.sam. .at. .chowchi.com.> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:30AM (#28025161)

    "Cutting all Power" should mean cutting additional gas that accelerate...or I mean it just work like cruise control that instead of supplying more gas when it goes under speed, it stop supplying more gas when it goes over the speed.

    But requiring GPS? Bullshit. Hong Kong's bus (which most of them are double deckers, and import from UK) has speed limiter installed for 15+ years. The bus can never goes over 70km/h no matter how hard you press the gas pedal (70km/h is the legal speed limit for bus on all road). There is a little red light on the dashboard to signal the driver the limiter is activated.

    Technology? It's just based on the speedometer that every automobile has, just like all cruise control! Why do we need to pull GPS into the picture? I have absolutely no idea.

  • Modders (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metlin ( 258108 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:30AM (#28025163) Journal

    Ha, and what are they going to do when people mod their vehicles to circumvent this?

    I know that they are talking about cars and not motorcycles -- but as someone who rides motorcycles, speed in a straight line isn't the hard part, speed in turns is. A lot of accidents are caused because people try to handle turns fast and fail.

    Or cause idiots tried wheelies when they had no clue.

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:31AM (#28025173)

    This fails to address either the legitimate need for speedy travel (medical emergencies, birth, etc.) and the possibility of error on the part of the system. If the system is taught that a particular road has a speed limit of 10kph when in reality, the limit is 50, it's going to do nothing but inconvenience people.

    A medical emergency is no legal excuse for you as a driver with no special training, and with no means to alert other drivers of the situation, to exceed the speed limit.

  • Re:wonderful.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:33AM (#28025193)
    I imagine that it lets you drive over the limit for more than the minute or so that an overtaking manouvre takes. We have these things called "engineers" who can anticipate problems.
  • by Kugala ( 1083127 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:33AM (#28025205)

    Speed doesn't kill, stupid driving kills. A good driver should be able to determine the appropriate speed for the road, traffic, and conditions. A bad driver will get into accidents anywhere, because they don't pay attention or plan ahead.

  • by Nathrael ( 1251426 ) <nathraelthe42nd@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:37AM (#28025259)
    Thus, it doesn't really serve any purpose - except tracking the user, be this a good or a bad thing...(and since this is Slashdot, I better get my tinfoil hat and scream "BAD BAD BAD!" now)
  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:42AM (#28025333)
    Technically speed is a factor in 99.9% of all accidents. If the car was stationary, no accident would have happened.

    But, more sensibly, it is lack of driving ability that is the cause of these accidents. A skilled racing driver could undoubtedly drive safely at a speed far above the posted limit; a 79 year old grandmother with cataracts is unsafe even when driving below the limit. The police should list "lack of skill" as a cause, not speed.
  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:44AM (#28025361) Homepage Journal

    So, I'm overtaking that other car. I go over the speed limit because I noticed an oncoming car on the opposite lane and decide I won't avoid collision if I stay within the speed limit, and it's too late to retreat.
    Then the engine power drops so that I can't finish the maneuver on time.

    Coming next: brakes that make it impossible to brake rapidly, to avoid collision with a car tailgating you.

  • by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:46AM (#28025401) Journal

    There are roads in my area that have different speed limits in different directions on the same road! Speed limits that jump and drop 30 miles per hour more than once in a single mile! Speed limits that vary by time of day (school zones, etc), and more.

    There are new roads being paved daily, others widening or diverted by construction. Temporary speed limits are posted by construction workers constantly. If the device can't react to these as well, it's useless, and probably more dangerous since "if it's not beeping, i'm not speeding" could potentially become a LEGAL defense!

    Also, what happens when you are trying to pass a car that's going slower than you, and while trying to pass your engine power drops!?!?

    What happens if you have a software glitch, or your device looses calibration. It could hold you to 10 or 20 miles less than the posted speed limit. It could simply fail, and cut engine power output. It could fail to engage and allow you to speed dangerously. It could simply prevent you from driving at all...

    The ONLY safe application I can see for this system would be to apply while driving under cruise control, and be an alert-only system.

    This is also something too easy to abuse by officers. If it's mandated to be installed, and everyone is being tracked, then entrapment starts to be an issue.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:48AM (#28025443)
    And what will happen the first time a simple glitch in one of these devices causes a 60-car interstate pile-up? Probably the same thing that will happen the first time a well-known politician or celebrity tries to rush someone to the hospital.
  • by Tokerat ( 150341 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:51AM (#28025473) Journal

    it prevents people from going 80 in a 55 zone, I'm all for it.

    If you think you can prevent people from doing 80 in a 55 (or 90 in a 65) then you, sir, have never driven on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

  • by 16Chapel ( 998683 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:55AM (#28025567)
    If they could create a device that cut your speed when you drive too close to the guy in front, THAT would save lives. It's incredible how many stupid drivers think it's OK to tailgate.
  • by Froggie ( 1154 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:56AM (#28025583)

    Speeding. 99% of respondents want to drive faster than the speed limit, it seems.

    Remember that driving is licensed, it's not a right. You are permitted to drive on the road if you obey the rules of the road, and you expect your government, who grant you that licence, to enforce the rules of the road.

    You would expect the police to arrest drunk drivers - they are abusing their licence. You should expect them to control road speed, for the same reason. The rules are there, it's not as if you don't know what they are, and whether you like them or not they all apply equally to you.

    If you feel that you should be able to drive faster than you're presently legally allowed to, then win the argument and get the law changed. But please stop bitching about the way that a given rule of the road applies to you; those are the terms you agreed to when you stepped into your car.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:01AM (#28025641)

    How is this information not in the summary?

    Summary: If you go too fast, they kill the engine and leave you stranded.
    Article: If you go too fast, they limit your speed to the legal speed limit and you can override it with a push of a button.

    Summary is designed and implemented to piss off and scare the slashdot crowd. Article is a reasonable, if very intrusive, approach to reducing traffic accidents.

    We'd complain if the mainstream media had a headline like "New Nuclear Power Plant Will Mutate Your Children?" and the article says "No, no it won't" wouldn't we? How is this any different.

  • by FredFredrickson ( 1177871 ) * on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:09AM (#28025761) Homepage Journal
    I mostly agree - however at higher speeds, even well trained professionals can have accidents. The problem is, at higher speeds, the damage and mortality rate is higher- that is to say, an old person might have a 50% likelihood of crashing, but their speed gives their chances of survival. The higher the speed, the higher the mortality.

    That being said, I think they should impliment yearly driving tests. So many people would fail. I would be happy and free on the road again! (without all those damn MASSHOLES!!) ;P
  • by Pvt_Ryan ( 1102363 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:10AM (#28025769)
    Sorry that's just narrow minded.. Speeding DOES NOT cause accidents. Incompetent drivers cause accidents. Not looking, talking on the mobile phone, looking at the kids in the back seat, applying makeup, smoking, drinking, eating, changing the CD, ALL cause more accidents than speeding.

    In fact the constant pressure NOT to speed causes accidents because I now spend more time looking at my speedo making sure I ain't speeding as I go through the 20th speed camera instead of looking at the road a head of me.

    The reason people target speeding and obsess over it is beacuse it is the one thing they can be visible doing something about whether it works or not.

    Take the common if you had hit little girl X and 30 instead of 35 she would have lived arguement. I can counter that with had I been doing 45 I'd have been passed her before she stepped on the road (assuming the same timeline)..

    Hell they want to reduce the speed to 50 in order to save lives, why the fuck stop there? how about just make us all fucking walk and then noone can be killed by a speed.

    Safe speed is what should be encouraged. On a dry, clear day with a well maintained car do 90mph on the motorway. However when it's dark & foggy slow the fuck down and take it easy..
  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:10AM (#28025781)

    the govener on my car is at 155.. i have zero planns on taking it there.

    on a side note the traction control on it reacts by not limiting but rather removing all power to the tires..

    several times this is caused me to almost get hit when pulling out into traffic.

    if these goveners are so blind as to jsut remove all power i can see accidents being caused by them.

    i can tell you of many times pulling a boat down the highway and it would start to fishtail.. depending on whats around you and your options.. some times speeding up to stop it is your only option.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:12AM (#28025797) Homepage Journal
    "I blame them now for putting up speed limit signs to begin with."

    Hear hear!!

    Hell, the main reason they have the stupid speed zones, it just for revenue generation. The best way to drive is to drive in a manner that is safe for the road conditions presented to you.

    I hope they don't get around to trying this in the US....I for one will be out with soldering iron and wire cutters very quickly.

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:14AM (#28025825)

    If implemented as described in the article: not much. With "cut power" they actually mean "limit power to reach only the maximum allowed speed" and you can override it if you wish. (Emergency transport to the hospital, speed limit out of date etc.)

    I have this friend named Murphy, I think you two should be introduced. Because once this technology is there, it will start to be used for other purposes.

  • Safer drivers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smivs ( 1197859 ) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:14AM (#28025829) Homepage Journal

    Speeding is one of the most preventable causes of accidents

    Not true...if someone wants to speed they will, and no propaganda (or technology) will stop them. The solutuion to this problem is to ban drivers for two or more serious speeding offences.
    The main cause of crashes is Human Error, and this is often because, over time, people forget how to drive properly. What's needed is a joined-up system of assessment and testing for drivers to ensure that their driving remains at a good standard. We all forget things and lose touch with 'good practice'. A 'check-test' every 5 years or so would weed out those whose driving has become unsafe, and they could then be required to take some re-training to bring their driving back up to an acceptable standard.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:14AM (#28025833) Journal

    And what happens when the guy in the lane next to you spins out and you have to make a split second decision to punch the accelerator and get clear, or get in an accident?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:15AM (#28025837)

    i constantly see people driving right next to tractor trailers, boxed in with nowhere to go, and they just stay there, refusing to speed up or pass because they're going the speed limit and won't dare go a single tick faster. i bet if you asked them why they were doing that, they'd say it was because they were being "safe" in obeying the speed limit - but what the hell is so safe about camping uncomfortably close to an 18-wheeler and riding along side him at 60 MPH?

    there is more to being safe than blindly obeying speed limits.

  • Re:bad assumption (Score:3, Insightful)

    by berashith ( 222128 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:15AM (#28025847)


    here is a normal situation I see every day.

    Many cars, we will say about 50, are spread across 4 lanes of traffic over a total distance of a few hundred yards, all traveling between 65 and 75 mph. The faster cars are further to the left, and no one in any lane is driving too close to the car in front of them. This pack of cars is traveling safely, although the posted limit is 55 mph.

    A single car, with the user texting on their cell phone is in the left lane, or second to left lane, driving between 50 and 55. The rate of closure between the pack of cars and this driver is quick, and suddenly everyone on the road is braking and shifting lanes. Following distances are severely shortened between many of the original 50 drivers as the highway is effectively 3 lanes for the time that they are navigating around the one person who has decided that they will take the left lane far below the accepted speed of everyone else in relevant proximity (and these people are not going excessively fast).

    Any wreck caused in this situation should be considered the fault of the slow idiot.

  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#28025911)

    Summary is designed and implemented to piss off and scare the slashdot crowd. Article is a reasonable, if very intrusive, approach to reducing traffic accidents.

    Except that speeding (ie, violating the posted limit) isn't what is causing traffic accidents. If anything, it's limits purposefully set lower than engineering standards that cause accidents.

    So far, everytime they've raised speed limits on interstates, accident rates DROP.

  • by DarrenBaker ( 322210 ) <darren@@@flim...net> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:20AM (#28025949) Homepage

    Indeed, exactly. Speed does not cause many accidents, it simply exacerbates them, though to what level is difficult to determine. A crash at 150 km/h will be worse than one at 100 km/h, but then, why not lower the limit to 50 km/h, since that will reduce the damage even further. It's a stupid game, and this speeding witch hunt is turning law-abiding safe drivers into criminals, and causing people to spend more time watching their speedometers instead of keeping their eyes on the bloody road.

    Most accidents are caused by poor training, and poor attention, as well as taking actions that other drivers don't expect, such as weaving, excessive braking, and the worst... Not using your turn signals - Americans, I'm looking at you. Use your signals!

  • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot@NosPam.pitabred.dyndns.org> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:22AM (#28025985) Homepage
    You can override it, but... what is reported back? THAT is the sticker. If it were a self-contained unit that never broadcast anything and simply helped me keep to the speed limit, I'd consider getting one for myself. But if it was in ANY way accessible by or connected to the government (or even just kept logs), FUCK that.
  • by Buelldozer ( 713671 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:23AM (#28026019)

    So you're arguing that some Bureaucrat somewhere should be in charge of how fast my car should be able to go?

    What if I enjoy taking my Audi to the track on occasion and wish to exceed 135MPH on the back straightaway?

    BTW, MOTORCYCLES will and do exceed 190MPH on the track so let's not use NASCAR as the standard for this. Frankly NASCAR is a bunch of redneck pussies making 2,000 left handed turns in a "race".

    I also find it amusing that a guy whose car is 'limited' to 80MPH over the fastest speed limit in North America is arguing for limiters. If you think they're such a good idea why don't you have your computer reprogrammed to limit YOUR car to 75MPH? They can change the limiter downward as well as upward!

    What's that? You're not interested in doing that? I thought not.

  • Here here. How about we just figure out how to get them to properly put speed limits on roads? There are way too many places where the "natural" limit is significantly higher than the legal one. If it's around a school or neighborhood, people actually follow speed limits pretty well. But on highways where it's perfectly safe to go faster, a lower limit makes it more dangerous for the few percent that will adhere strictly to the law no matter how stupid it is.
  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:26AM (#28026053) Homepage Journal

    People who believe speed is the cause of all problems don't understand its use in emergency manoeuvres.

    Of course, the lower accident rate on highways that went to 75mph instead of 55, or the lower death toll on the Autobauhn than on many American highways confuses them too.

    For the nay-saysers, speed isn't implicitly causing accidents, poor driving and/or unforseen circumstances are.

    The only speed that is nearly guaranteed not to cause an accident is zero. By getting in the car at all, you've increased your odds of being in a collision far more than the subsequent increase caused by speeding.

  • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#28026059)
    *If* implemented as described, the throttling of the engine is not immediate, so you should still be able to go above the speed limit briefly. I could imagine a similar scenario, where you are overtaking a car and have not seen an approaching car in the other lane. It could be safer to accelarate and complete the maneuver rather than aborting it. So I'd be concerned whether the period you can go beyond the speed limit would be long enough.
  • by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:29AM (#28026081)

    Yeah, but you wouldn't be driving anywhere near the speed limit while towing a heavy and potentially unstable load, would you?

    Would you?

  • Re:No Doubt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:31AM (#28026119) Homepage Journal

    I say all the time up here in Canada, if they really cared about speeding, they'd nail everyone going more than 1km/h over the speed limit.

    They don't though, because they don't really care.

    The police officer driving past me at 140 without his lights on doesn't think speeding is bad, he's doing it himself.

  • by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:33AM (#28026165)

    Considering "cut" is also used to mean "stop altogether", and the intention isn't at all clear from context, "reducing" would have been better in this case.

    Oh you're right. You're very right. Good boy. I'm just pointing out how you're also wrong.

  • Re:bad assumption (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:33AM (#28026169) Homepage

    Or maybe -- now stop me if this seems to be too radical -- we could try building really big cars. I'm talking about a single huge car that could hold easily forty or fifty people. And these special really big cars could just spend all day driving back and forth between places where people live and where they work. That way lots of people could get to work without having to drive.

    They would cost a bit to operate, but we could offset that by having everybody pay a small fare when they get on the really big car, and sell advertising space on the sides to keep the cost down. We might even get some sort of government support for it if enough people like it.

    If the really big car idea has some merit, we might even try building some kind of trains that run above or below the street level... I'd better go patent this idea before someone else comes up with it.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:36AM (#28026213) Journal

    Let's all take a moment and remember how insurance companies make money, then we can proceed from there.

    You've apparently never dealt with an insurance company. While investments may be their main business, they do have a little side business doing actual insurance work. Which, to an insurance company, means

    1) Collecting premiums
    2) Not paying claims unless they absolutely have to, and lowballing the insured when they do.

    They'd love for claims to go down. That provides them with a windfall. Predictability? Well, a predictible _maximum_ level of claims is fine, but even insurance companies don't object to a windfall in the form of lower costs.

    Since these are auto insurance companies, who have managed to wangle laws requiring auto insurance, they need not worry about reduction in demand for their product; they have the State to provide that for them.

  • by Zoxed ( 676559 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:38AM (#28026227) Homepage

    > Except that speeding (ie, violating the posted limit) isn't what is causing traffic accidents.

    Even if speeding itself does not *cause* an accident it *does* make the consequences worse.

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:44AM (#28026313)

    And what happens when the guy in the lane next to you spins out and you have to make a split second decision to punch the accelerator and get clear, or get in an accident?

    Your brakes are usually about four times stronger than your engine. If you need to change your speed very quickly, the brakes are much better at doing it. Instead of thinking that you can rely on engine power to get you out of trouble, learn watching the traffic, and reading other people's behavior. If the guy in the next line spins out, then most likely you should have noticed suspicious behavior before, and acted accordingly, like giving him space.

  • by digitig ( 1056110 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:52AM (#28026459)
    Out of date maps.
    overpasses and underpasses (the GPS often gets wrong which road you're on)
  • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:58AM (#28026585)

    The system doesn't track anyone...


  • by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @12:11PM (#28026791)

    a) if you need to exceed the speed limit to overtake, then you don't need to overtake

    b) if you can't complete you overtaking manoeuvre in the amount of clear road space you can see, then you don't overtake

    c) if you do need to pull in, then you can reduce your speed and pull back in behind the car you're overtaking

    I don't think reckless driving habits are going to be a strong argument against the scheme when this is the sort of behaviour the scheme is designed to reduce ;-)

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @12:13PM (#28026827) Homepage

    1) It's not just about how well you can maneuver your vehicle along the road surface, it's also about what sort of a hazard your vehicle traveling at high speed presents to other motorists, and what risk they present to you. (And let's face it, everyone thinks they're a better driver than they really are).

    2) Do you really trust everyone around you to judge what is "safe for conditions"? The phrase is a legal catchall for circumstances when a driver is not exceeding the posted limit, but should have known that it's imprudent to continue at 75MPH in freezing rain. It's not a justification to push up against the laws of physics.

    3) How do you define "safe for conditions"? As fast as you can possibly travel? What margin of error do you leave, if any, and how do you calculate that? There are plenty of professional drivers who have trouble doing that on a closed course with known variables. Changing the venue to a public road only makes things worse, unless you put a higher priority on your driving freedom than most people's desire to be free of wanton carnage.

    4) Speed limits are appropriate in most circumstances. Residential and commercial districts have a lot of activity, and it doesn't really matter how straight and flat the road is when a kid runs out in the road, or a traffic light turns red, or someone has to edge their car out into the road a bit just to see if it's clear to enter the roadway.

    5) Rural highways are really the only place that a high speed limit is appropriate, and left of the Mississippi, we have rather high limits -- 75 to 80. There are many places where this could be safely raised to 120+, but the problem is that this isn't Germany, and there are many, many cars on the road here that can't go over 80 or 90. Good luck convincing America that everyone's car *must* be capable of at least 120MPH (and all the parts and maintenance that go along with that).

    6) Speed doesn't kill, but speed differential does. When you have people traveling at 70, 140, and 210MPH all on the same road, it's just asking for problems. What happens when the guy doing 140 changes lanes in front of you, doing 210, to pass the guy going 70? You slam on the brakes, and the guy rounding the curve behind you (driving "not too fast" for conditions) plows into you. Congratulations -- you just got killed and nobody was legally at fault.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @12:47PM (#28027355)
    Instead of thinking that you can rely on engine power to get you out of trouble, learn watching the traffic, and reading other people's behavior.

    If I'm passing someone and they spin out, coming partially into my lane and I have to swerve, my car is more stable swerving while accelerating than swerving while braking. Braking while in any maneuver is probably a bad idea. Brake before maneuvers, accelerate during. But that's more subtile than most people will get, but for those out there that can and do handle their car at the limits on a regular basis, removing any option will reduce our safety.
  • by socrplayr813 ( 1372733 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @12:57PM (#28027539)

    I wish I had mod points for you. That is by far the best response I've seen so far regarding the danger of this technology.

    I'm not necessarily opposed to some kind of action to deal with out-of-control speeders, but unexpected physical limits placed on the vehicle are not the way to do it. Any limits need to be clearly defined prior to a person operating a machine capable of that much destruction. If the parent poster's scenario occurs or the system reports an incorrect speed limit at just the wrong moment, I don't see any potential for GOOD things to happen.

    It seems to me that the people who drive fast enough to be affected by these systems are also the ones most likely to find a way to get into trouble with it. They're also likely to simply disable it completely, which defeats the whole purpose. After realizing that, it does start to sound like nothing more than a way to track innocent people. Oh crap I've joined the tin foil crowd...

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:09PM (#28027725) Homepage Journal

    If they could create a device that cut your speed when you drive too close to the guy in front, THAT would save lives. It's incredible how many stupid drivers think it's OK to tailgate.

    For some reason, those jackasses seem to think it makes it easier for them to pass.

    Tailgater: I'll ride six inches off his bumper, then suddenly swerve out and begin accelerating as soon as I'm clear, pedal to the floor and hell bent for leather because I'll need to be going 25mph faster than him to get around before I have a head on collision.

    Smart driver: I'll ride a couple seconds back, and when an opportunity approaches, I'll gradually speed up ahead of time. That way I'll already be going 10mph faster than him by the time I change lanes and I'll only be facing oncoming traffic for a few seconds.

  • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:33PM (#28028129)

    they impose financial penalties based on actual evidence of the driving habits of each individual, as opposed to generic statistical inferences and supposition

    Yup, which is why, despite having a prefect driving record, my rates remained relatively fixed from age 16 to 25, at which point they were drastically lowered.

    Oh wait...

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @03:28PM (#28029787)

    I can understand why they do it when some jerk is riding in the leftmost lane, not passing anyone, and going the speed limit or less. The ones I don't understand is when they tailgate someone in one of the right lanes, and there's plenty of room to go around them on the left. I think there's a lot of people like that who just tailgate not because they're wanting to go faster, but because they just like to follow people for some weird reason.

  • by daver00 ( 1336845 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:04PM (#28032195)

    "a) if you need to exceed the speed limit to overtake, then you don't need to overtake"

    I hate this argument, lets sat someone is doing 10kph under the speed limit, it is perfectly reasonable to overtake them. Now is it safer to overtake them at 10kph relative speed? or 30kph relative speed? (divide numbers by 1.6 to get old-timey measurements)

    Speeding while overtaking makes a helluva lot of sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:43PM (#28033455)

    0) There is already a means to punish people who are not safe drivers. It is the insurance industry...

    That's great news. I'm sure the families of everyone killed by speeding drivers will be happy to know that those at fault are being duly punished by the insurance industry.

  • by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:46PM (#28034073)

    What a ridiculous thing to say.

    Here in Aus there's an extraordinarily antisocial type of 'driver' who will do 20 under the limit for half an hour banking up 30 cars behind them and then when people start to overtake them en-masse put their foot down, usually while there's someone beside them. Then when the overtaking lane ends they'll back off again and continue holding people up.

    What's the person beside them supposed to do when the person they're 3/4 past moves up to the speed limit? Slam on the brakes? Usually there's someone behind them overtaking as well. In any case, it's the person being overtaken who's behaving recklessly.

    Peg it 10kph over the limit for 5 seconds to get around them is safer than the bloody dangerous response you describe in C.

    A. You obviously never drive outside of four lane highways. the level of ignorance is astounding
    B. Correct, unless the above happens - and it happens all the bloody time here, especially in the holidays when people like you get out of the cities and actually encounter a corner or two.
    C. If your 3/4 of the way past, aborting is extraordinarily dangerous for *both* cars and anyone behind. Not to mention if there's someone behind you trying to overtake as well, as there usually is, or someone behind the car your overtaking who's closed up the gap that you left.

    Lemme guess you don't drive on B roads much, and when you do your ever so careful and the 30 cars backed up behind you are just 'bad aggressive drivers' but your doing the best you can, your driving to the conditions and it's everyone else who's the 'bad driver'.

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