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Universal Vehicle Speed Governor

Yes, you CAN drive 55.
  (+5, -7)
(+5, -7)
  [vote for,

To eliminate speeding, why don't they just stop making cars that can GO over 55 mph in the first place? If you want to eliminate traffic fatalities, or at least reduce them, one good way would be to pass laws that state that no company shall be able to build a vehicle in the first place that CAN go over 55 mph. Problem solved.

Of course, that wouldn't stop someone from burning through your local school zone at 55 mph. You'd still need traffic cops for that. In fact, you'd have to make exceptions to the rule, for emergency vehicles of all kinds. But for ordinary vehicles, you're out of luck.

It will never be implemented, of course. Look at all the money that various jurisdictions would lose, not being able to write traffic tickets for speeding. . . .

deacon, May 29 2001

GPS-based speed governor for cars http://ads.guardian...655151&location=top
Proposed in the UK. (Copied this link from the "speed barcodes" idea.) [wiml, May 29 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The governator http://memyselfandi...-%20Teil%201%20.jpg
[normzone, Dec 23 2004]


       Um... deacon. I don't know where you're from, but the speed limit on the freeways by me is 65 mph. On certain highways (like from LA to Las Vegas) it is 70 mph. I drive 75 (and smile at passing cops). OK, so let's have them go at least that fast. OK?
globaltourniquet, May 29 2001

       Now that you mention it, it IS pretty strange to have cars, minivans even, with spedometers marked up to 100 mph. Is it because people are less likely to buy a vehicle with a lower maximum speed? If we rigged everything to stay below 75 that would solve a lot of problems. The only objection I can think of is needing to speed in an emergency or to get away from danger, but really is an extra 25 miles per hour going to to do anything for a person but strain their reaction time?
centauri, May 29 2001

       Perhaps the road deaths that were eliminated were those idiots that were driving 55 in the fast lane causing traffic behind them to slow at an uncontrollable rate. With them off the road, traffic flows more smoothly.
globaltourniquet, May 29 2001

       [globaltourniquet] Why, I'm from Montana, global, where you can drive as fast as you want. Why do you ask? *smile* Actually, I thought that if 70 was good enough to reduce many road deaths, 55 would be better. . . .
deacon, May 30 2001

       Going back to the original idea; if you build a car that can't go faster than 55, it's not going to do 55 very well. Unless you're thinking about adding some device that disables the accelerator at that speed, which would create more problems than it solves.
bookworm, May 30 2001

       And cars that can't go faster than 75 (and that not very well) are baked. I'm thinking of the Geo Metro, for one.
globaltourniquet, May 30 2001

       gt: "those idiots that were driving 55 in the fast lane causing traffic behind them to slow at an uncontrollable rate". how is a car more "uncontrollable" at 55pmh rather than at a faster speed? perhaps the road deaths that were eliminated were the impatient bastards behind those slowpokes who were taligating, passing on the right (or left, depending where you're from), and too bust yelling at the person in front of them to get out of the way instead of paying attention to what's going on around them. most of the time, you're not driving a long enough distance for it to make more than a few minutes difference whether you're going 55 or 65mph (or 70 in some states).
mihali, May 30 2001

       I *really* hope that we're not going to have another 'I can drive better than you/everyone else' session.
angel, May 30 2001

       Angel, I think it's important to realize that the one thing that people truly have in common, regardless of race, creed, or gender, is that they all think they are above average drivers.
centauri, May 30 2001

       Nice idea, but the discussion has given light to a flaw: speed limits vary between jurisdictions.   

       You'd get folks with their cars governed at 70mph zipping through 55mph states; or folks with their max-55mph cars bunging things up in 70mph states...
MrWrong, May 30 2001

       I drove a deathmobile, I mean speed-governed vehicle once. Couldn't pass anyone unless I had loads and loads and loads of room. Not a good thing when you're stuck behind a semi going uphill.
thumbwax, May 30 2001

       If you are really concerned with safety, then why not govern everything at, say, 10mph? Just make sure they can smartly accelerate to, and brake quickly from, 10mph. Everything will be much safer then. While we're at it, let's make sure all cars are safety yellow, weigh the same amount, have windows that other drivers can clearly see through (no tints or unusual obstructions), are all the same height and width and have active cell phone jamming.
lummox, May 30 2001

       Um.... what if you have to pass someone who is going 75?...
salmon, May 30 2001

       Most of these objections can be bypassed with a location-aware smart governor (see link), which can govern your speed according to the local limit. Performance is not affected since you can still use your zillion-HP motor to accelerate from 0 to the limit in 1/2 second, just not past the limit.   

       IIRC, some speed governors will allow you to exceed the limit briefly, for passing or for an emergency, before they gradually force you back down.   

       I still think governors are a bad idea, but almost all the objections I've seen posted in this idea are bogus.
wiml, May 31 2001

       // Cars over 1,250 kg are demonstrably safer to occupants, depending to some extent upon chassis design and construction //   

       Being a non-driver, I can't help feeling that there should also be more done to prevent damage being done to pedestrians. It's all very well making it harder for reckless drivers to hurt themselves, but that will, if anything, lead to an increase in injuries to the people who get knocked down.
-alx, May 31 2001

       Modern speed governing devices can be built into the car electronic engine management system, and have NO DETRIMENTAL EFFECT on the performance of the car up until the rated speed.   

       It would be sensible to raise the speed limits slightly as well. In the UK the speed limit on motorways (freeways to americans) is 70mph though few go that speed - most people drive at 80-85mph, so set the limit at that speed and have the cars digitally restricted.
CasaLoco, May 31 2001

       I'm not surprised about Pennsylvania's fatalities going up with increased speeds, waugsqueke. PA has by far the WORST roads I have ever seen. I drove on Rt. 30 a few weeks ago, at night. The lane markings had about the same color and reflectiveness of dried mustard--they wouldn't even be visible in rain! Between the bumpy, fatiguing roads, poor lighting and markings, and winding 2-lane roads with 50+ mph speed limits, PA's accident rate isn't at all surprising. I think more focus should be spent on improving driver licensing and making sure roads are well-lit and well-engineered. We sure as hell don't need a Big Brother-ish device to decide for us what a safe speed is. What if I'm passing a car that's going, say, 50 in a 55 on a 2-lane road? Normally, I would be doing about 75 by the time I'm safely ahead of the car. With this governor, I'd have to creep on by at 55 which would make passing quite a dangerous maneuver indeed!
segfaultxr7, Jul 17 2001

       I agree with global on the "idiots in the left lane". There are some who are truely unaware, there are some who know the left lane is for passing but don't care who they inconvienence, and there are the truely dangerous who intentionally impede the flow of traffic. The latter group of zealots with their sense of moral superiority probably cause more accidents than any speeders. I have followed these individuals who will shadow a truck in the right lane until it turns off and then break the speed limit to get to the next truck so they can slow down. So much for moral superiority it is the same old same old. The end justifies the means. I have been driving with the flow of traffic for 35 years regardless of the speed limit. If you are to far above or below the flow you are dangerous. If you want to go slower stay out of the left lane. If some one wants to pass you let them. It may not be the law but it is simply "common courtesy".
stevlom, Jul 29 2001

       CasaLoco: "so set the limit at that speed and have the cars digitally restricted."   

       Anything is possible with computers. What's to stop someone replacing their own 55mph black box restrictor with a 70mph one from Montana or Vegas? Or even "tweaking" their own?   

       Also, what about motorbikes. Much more capable of travelling at high speeds safely. Better brakes, suspension etc. Why can't they have a higher speed limit?
Mayfly, Aug 02 2001

       How do we keep awake? constant speed at 55pmh, I would have thought should lead to more accidents as drivers fall asleep. On rural roads 40mph or even 30 or 20mph would be considered to be the absolute maximum speed. Mihali is correct what difference does it make in terms of time. Driver need to be educated. When I need to pass a horse, whatever the side of the road the rider is on, I put my headlights on main beam and travel at walking speed, and use hazard indicators. Speed limits are maximum limits but in so many situations drivers consider they should drive at the maximum. I always drive more slowly approaching a road junction, this allows other drivers to enter the major road. Trainee drivers should be taught to think about other road users. Speed should no longer be a problem.
uked, Feb 08 2003

       I actually have this a bill for student congress for forensics (debate). I have a few problems with it like trying to avoid and accident, expessically on the freeway. I've been in an accident on the freeway, they can quickly turn fatal and being able to avoid one is priceless. My other problem is passing... many times you have to go faster than 75mph to pass on the freeway, espeacially those 2 lane ones. Another thing is that the money the car industry would be substancial and effect our economy. Americans are known for wanting fast cars and limiting the speed would mean limiting the amount cars would sale for. Just because you don't want someone to do something like speed doesn't mean you have the right to limit the possiblity of doing it. For instance if you don't want murders to happen doesn't mean you can outlaw guns and knives. Besides how would you suggest regulating this. If a governer is installed on every car by the manufacture what happens when they travel to other countries and the speed limits higher?
lilJuliet05, Apr 21 2003

       < adds "expessically" to her vocabulary even though she knows not what it means but just 'cause it sounds neat >
bristolz, Apr 21 2003

       [deacon] If 55 is good to reduce road deaths, then 45 would be even better! Wait, 35! Wait, 15!
ConsultingDetective, Feb 01 2004

       I would quite happily have a GPS govener in my car if my insurance premium went down.   

       However would I be a safer driver if I was limited?   

       If everyone was limited then maybe... but if only some were... I don't know.
rambling_sid, Dec 23 2004

       half baked [+] My car will cut out at 7000 rpm to stop engine detonation. I would hate to have it limited to 3000 rpm in top gear.   

       Ummm, there is nothing stopping me from re-programming my car of course...
madness, Dec 23 2004


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