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California bill would require speed assistance systems on vehicles

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A California bill would require 50% of passenger vehicles, motortrucks, and buses sold in the state to be equipped with a speed assistance system by the 2029 model year and all vehicles by the 2032 model year. 

According to the bill, SB961, the system would use GPS data to monitor speed limits. If the system determines a vehicle is traveling at 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, a one-time visual and audio signal would alert the driver. 

Emergency vehicles would be exempt from having the system. The Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol would have the authority to allow disabling the system on vehicles based on specific criteria. 

The bill would require the Office of Fleet and Asset Management to establish a pilot program with the system equipped on state vehicles. Data collected for a minimum of 12 months would be reported to the legislature annually. The department would have the authority to discontinue the program if it determines the program can’t meet the needs of the state. 

A previous version of the bill also required vehicles with three or more axles and more than 10,000 pounds to have side guards to prevent bikes and cars from being pulled under the vehicles during a crash. However, a recently amended version of the bill removed this requirement. 

The bill was passed to the Committee on Appropriations April 30 after already moving through the Committee on Transportation. 

Two other bills in California also attempt to address speeding. 

SB1509 would give drivers 2 points on their license if traveling 26 mph faster than the posted speed limit. Two points would be similar to the amount of points a driver receives for a DUI and hit-and-run convictions. 

SB1297 would expand the state’s speed safety system pilot programs to multiple cities. This would include placing speed cameras on highways. 

Crash data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month shows 18% of all drivers involved in a fatal crash in 2022 were speeding at the time of the crash. It also says speeding was related to 29% of all fatal crashes during that time period. 

Overall, 12,151 people died in speed-related crashes in 2022; a slight decrease from the 12,498 killed in 2021. 


Photo Courtesy of LordRunar/iStock

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