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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 vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:23AM (#28025049)

    Solar flares.
    US Military mucking with GPS system.
    DoS attacks.

    On the bright side, you'll never get a ticket again because you can blame the car if it lets you speed.

  • wonderful.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Pvt_Ryan ( 1102363 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:25AM (#28025081)
    So I start to over take a car who is going slower than the speed limit who (as I am in the middle of passing) starts to speed up. I exceed the limit to complete the overtake as the gap behind the car has been filled and a truck has appeared coming towards me... Computer detects speeding slows me down to limit.. Truck wins the fight..

    Oh yeah sign me up for 1 of those.
  • Speed limiting... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:31AM (#28025177)

    I've got no problems with speed limiting vehicles. Some are already here, if you rent a U-Haul truck, there's a governor on the engine that won't let you above 65mph. It doesn't kill the engine, but the truck just doesn't accelerate anymore. Why not just put the same thing on cars? Do we really need cars that are able to go 100+ mph? I know what someone will say, "but I need the engine power to accelerate if I need to..." I'm not saying we should nerf the engines, but just limit the max speed of the vehicle but keep all the HP/torque so you can go from 0-60 in 2seconds, but you top out at 85mph.

    Btw, NASCAR does this already on some tracks for safety reasons. You don't see any of those cars going 200+ mph. Even though they are completely capable of it.

    Most cars already have a limiter, my BMW is computer limited at 135mph. Though, I could spend $50 and get that part of the computer reprogrammed.

  • This is bogus. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yourassOA ( 1546173 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:32AM (#28025179)
    Now if they put speed limiting devices on cars the cops should have them to. Because no one is speeding right? Three weeks ago I had to pull into the ditch doing 140 KPH with a fire truck because a cop decided to pass me on the way to a car crash/explosion. There were two oncoming vehicles and if I had not pull over there would have been a head on collision. (It is illegal for a cop to pass a fire truck. Besides what is the cop going to do, piss on the fire if he gets there before me?) Now three weeks latter the same cop is goofing off and destroyed a brand new honda 1200cc motor bike injuring himself and a girl he was showing off to. And of course he doesn't get a ticket either. Really who needs a speed limiter?
    Also are they considering the revenue they will be loosing from speeding tickets? I'm sure that they will figure out another way to get that money out of people.
  • by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:33AM (#28025207) Journal

    Poor reception.
    Software bugs.
    Hardware bugs.
    Insectoid bugs.

    I'm sure there's more. On the bright side, you could be travelling down a steep enough incline to roll home when the engine dies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:39AM (#28025277)

    Would have been handy when I had to rush my wife to the hospital due to a major complication during pregnancy. No ambulance was available and she would have died if I never got her there fast.

    Would I be able to sue the government for the death of my wife and unborn child?

  • Re:bad assumption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:39AM (#28025279)

    True. But look at it from the insurance companies (or gov'ts) point of view. The total cost of all accidents is the number of accidents times the cost per accident. Speed affects the cost per accident to a much greater degree than their probability of occurrence. To the individual, its more important to avoid an accident altogether. But the insurance industry wants to lower the overall cost.

    The proper solution to lowering accident probability might entail something that would remove the worst drivers from the roadway*. This is definitely not in the auto industries best interest. It lowers insurance premium receipts and the market for new vehicles. So the industry is motivated to reduce the cost per accident and keep Mr Magoo on the road.

    *My personal preference would be to increase the minimum standards for possessing a D/L to the point at which it would remove sufficient numbers of drivers from the roadway so as to reduce traffic congestion. We only have room for X drivers. We'll only issue X licenses to the most competent.

  • by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:51AM (#28025477) Journal

    They are BOTH computed in real time AND averaged over distance.

    Recent court cases have proven GPS based speed monitoring is far more accurate even than most spedometers which monitor real time wheel speeds, and easily trump radar and laser accuracy.

    As long as the speed is logged a dozen times a second or so, but averaged over periods of not less than 1.5 seconds, and updated in real time based on the fractional second, the speed on the screen should not be more than a fraction of a mile per hour less or greater than your actual speed, which is actually MORE accurate than a traditional spedometer, which unlike GPS can be effected by vehicle alignment, tire pressure, wether, and age of the mechanics behind it. Car speedometers today are only accurate on average to within 3MPH.

  • by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:56AM (#28025579) Homepage

    I don't want Big Brother in my car for the same reasons I don't want big Brother in my computer.

    If it's not logging or reporting home, it's hardly Big Brother.

  • Re:No Doubt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:00AM (#28025617) Homepage Journal

    So is speeding.

    Nope. It's not illegal, just heavily taxed. ;)

    It's illegal, but A) you (generally) can't (or won't) get arrested for it, B) 100% enforcement is impossible (at least without something like this), and C) you can get out of most speeding tickets.

    The bottom line is that speeding is mostly (ab)used by localities for revenue generation.

  • Re:Speed limiting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <dfenstrate@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:03AM (#28025681)

    My Ranger is limited to 92 MPH, based on stability reasons (My estimate from actually going that fast, finding the limit, and trying to change lanes.)

    That being said, we shouldn't put ourselves in the position of determining what our fellow citizens 'need,' especially in the absence of demonstrated over-riding social concerns. The number of accidents- proportional, and straight numeric amount- based on excessive speed alone do not come anywhere close to an overriding social concern.

    On the whole, we are no wiser than our fellow man. Substituting our judgement (in the form of law) for the individuals should be done extremely rarely, and with great caution.

    Unfortunately, folks on slashdot and web forums in general tend to vastly over-estimate their own wisdom, and vastly under-estimate the prudence and wisdom of their fellow man. Web forums, generally speaking, often come across as a room full of teenagers convinced they know everything, and their parents / society know nothing.

    Don't concern yourself with limiting your fellow man to what you think he 'needs.' Just look after yourself.

  • Re:That's strange.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by germ!nation ( 764234 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:16AM (#28025857)

    The scary thing for me really is if speed isn't the largest factor then what is? Stupidity? (likely) Lack of paying attention? (certainly)

    If you start removing the things that people do have to worry about being in control of then are people more or less likely to get into a mental state when driving where their lack of care and attention lead to fatal accidents?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:21AM (#28025973)

    You start overtaking. After 3 seconds you realize you understimated the speed of an approaching truck.
    Instinct and habit tell you to floor the pedal to avoid a frontal crash: going back is difficult, plus you have 200hp to spare that will haul you easily out of trouble.
    But, oops, for your own safety an innovative device kills the plugs long enough...
    for you do die.

  • by flerchin ( 179012 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:28AM (#28026065)

    [citation needed]

    I've googled, and I can't find the data to which you are referring. Perhaps you are incorrect?

  • by twostix ( 1277166 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:32AM (#28026151)

    You can't just "cut power" like it's an electrical appliance.

    You can either:

    - Limit Air
    - Limit Fuel
    - Limit Spark

    All three of those things will reduce power and two of those things have significant problems with petrol engines.

    - Closing the butterfly ala cruise control is the safest but most expensive, unreliable and mechanical way of doing it.
    - Limiting fuel, cheapest way but fraught with danger, leaning out to much causing detonation and burning through valves and piston heads.
    - Limiting spark, likely way but terrible from an environmental POV. Raw fuel/air mix flowing straight through into the exhaust when dimwits plug along with their foot flat to the floor and let the restrictor do the work (happens in big rigs).

    Whatever they do its a 10 minute job for the boy racers to get around it .

  • Re:That's strange.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:35AM (#28026193) Homepage
    Before getting their driving licenses people should be forced to take and pass a physics course in which they do various calculations on car-sized objects being dropped and hitting brick walls or other car-sized objects.
  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:42AM (#28026293) Homepage Journal
    For a historical example, look at the USA in the early 1970s. The federal government mandated that all cars sold be equipped with seat belt-ignition interlocks. Naturally, the interlocks proved impractical, as cargo on the passenger seat or stuck sensors could leave drivers stranded. Within a year, the statute was repealed and owners were allowed to remove the interlock.
  • Re:bad assumption (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:49AM (#28026409) Journal

    From someone (me) who has been in many accidents, all I can say is that speed has never been a factor, and I am routinely substantially over the limit.

    - In one accident, she did not follow the "yield sign" and merged into me.
    - In another accident, the work truck in front of me swerved out of my lane to reveal a stalled vehicle on the open road. (He should have pushed his car to the side and started it there)
    - In another accident, I was driving down the load and a car was attempting to make a left onto the road I was on. This required crossing my lane. A truck was in front of me turning into where the car was. The car did not see me behind the truck and pulled out into traffic.
    - In another accident, a driver after a rain hydroplaned, spun out, hit the median, bounced across 4 lanes of traffic and in the ensuing stoppage I found myself under another car.

    Fortunately, no one was ever hurt. But what I take away from this is that speed doesn't kill by itself. No one has ever died from driving too fast. Speed can only kill when some other mistake creates the accident. Speed then elevates the amount of energy in play. The one exception is speeding around a turn where the lateral Gs create under steer or loss of control. I'd still consider this an error of judgement, rather than flat out a speed problem because different cars have different cornering characteristics. My 2-door can take some turns at 60MPH. My van can't. Is it raw 'speed' or just error of the driver? Given my other accidents, its driver error.

  • by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @12:40PM (#28027247)
    0) There is already a means to punish people who are not safe drivers. It is the insurance industry and they impose financial penalties based on actual evidence of the driving habits of each individual, as opposed to generic statistical inferences and supposition broadly applied to everyone as if everyone were possessed of equal driving skills.
  • by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @12:41PM (#28027261) Homepage Journal

    So if you want to improve road safety, you have two options:

    1. reduce the consequences of an accident by reducing speed.

    2. eliminate the accident by removing morons from the road.

    The government, and apparently yourself, would rather do the first.
    Myself? I think the second is a much better long-term solution.

    When you consider the economic damage accidents - even non-fatal ones - cause, there's no reason at all to keep these twits on the road.

    Other than the government making lots of money from traffic fines, of course....

  • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:00PM (#28027589) Journal

    specifically what if I'm on the freeway and the GPS thinks I'm on the frontage road? I'll drop ~50% speed right there.

  • by Tuoqui ( 1091447 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @01:14PM (#28027831) Journal

    If you can override it if you wish then there is no purpose for it to be there in the first place. Less government intrusion into our daily lives not more!

  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @03:21PM (#28029689)
    As an American driver that's spent some time driving in Germany, I have to agree with this 100%, although I would probably extend it to say that Europeans in general are better drivers than Americans.

    Americans as a group are largely ignorant of the idea of "situational awareness" and drive *extremely* reactively, instead of paying attention, being able to see dangerous situations beginning to develop, and avoiding them before any action is actually necessary. Half the time, we don't even know the traffic laws. People here in Orlando continue to get upset about being ticketed for not yielding the lane closest to a stopped emergency vehicle, even though the law has been on the books for SEVEN YEARS. And of course, every day on my way to work I see that most people don't have a clue how to determine right-of-way at a four-way stop. It's not rocket science.
  • by daver00 ( 1336845 ) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:50PM (#28031997)

    Well said sir. I have my own take on it, there are far too many people on the road who are *terrible* drivers, and never will be good drivers no matter what we do. As a society, in Australia and the USA, we expect far too much from people in terms of driving ability. All too often we are completely stranded or socially crippled if we cannot drive a car, as a result every stupid person who never should be put behind the wheel of a car ends up there, often in the most expensive ones too (or just a Volvo). An example: there is a moderate to easy bend in a corner of a highway near a place I used to live, at the bottom of a hill, if you were doing the correct speed limit (100kph or about 60 mph), you would have to be really bad at driving to stuff it up, and yet people slid across the road into oncoming traffic repeatedly. Any driver of even barely average skill could not possibly have done that, and yet it happened again and again because of the sheer volume of absolutely terrible drivers out there. Now as a result they dropped the speed limit to 60 (around 35mph) for this one corner, on a major highway, the biggest one we have in fact right down the east coast and yes it does cause the kind of massive bottleneck in traffic that it sounds like it would.

    Stupid drivers is the reason for too many accidents, speed just kills stupid teenage drivers and darwin award nominees.

  • by Brianwa ( 692565 ) <> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:29PM (#28033303)
    You're saying it's a good idea to hang out in the wrong lane for as long as possible when passing? Have you ever driven on a two lane road before? The only safe procedure involves waiting for a large opening in traffic and, in most situations, putting the pedal all the way to the floor for as long as necessary to build up speed, get past, and get out of harm's way.

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons