Will the Government Control Your Car’s Speed?

London traffic: Don't go too fast!

London traffic: Don't go too fast!

With all the things that are controlled in our lives, sometimes it’s great to know we can just get in our cars, hit the open road, and go as fast as we want.

Maybe we just want to hear the growl of an engine or feel the wind blow through our hair. Maybe it’s the freedom that comes with being in control of a machine that speeds up the faster our right foot pushes down.

It’s a great feeling, because no one can take it away from us. Right?

We’ll see. A test program in London uses a GPS device to limit cars’ speed to the posted maximum. For now, the device is being used only on Transport for London’s own fleet of 12 Toyota Priuses, but the test could be extended.

Can you imagine driving your own car and having the government, through a satellite, control your speed?

Man oh man, it would be the end of car culture. The end of freedom as we know it.

Transport for London is conducting the test to see if accident rates decline. And they might, while drivers in cars equipped with the devices would also guarantee they’d never get another speeding ticket.

Chris Lines, Transport for London’s road safety chief, defends the program by saying,

There are 200 people killed and 2,500 seriously injured on London’s roads each year, and it costs £1.2 billion [about $1.9 billion].

Well… yeah. People die running marathons, too, but are you going to limit them to a safe walking pace so they don’t inconvenience you by dying on your streets?

Driver safety is a serious issue, but one that should be dealt with through education, not control.

Would you be in favor of a government program limiting how fast your car goes?


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    1. expotl
      May 4th, 2010 at 08:13 | #1

      that picture isn’t london it’s moscow

    2. Rob
      August 13th, 2009 at 14:03 | #2

      if we didn’t have roads, no one would be forced to drive into someone else…

    3. Lui Salt
      August 4th, 2009 at 17:38 | #3

      I dont think that’s a pic of London. First off their driving on the same side of the road as we do here in the US and second, I dont think Inner London has any roads that wide. Looks more like Moscow.

    4. Jeff
      July 21st, 2009 at 08:48 | #4

      A system developed for railways, ETMS Positive Train Control System, could be used on cars to prevent them from going through stop signs and traffic lights. It first warns and then applies the brakes to prevent going though without stopping.


    5. Kyle L.
      July 9th, 2009 at 18:15 | #5

      I am somewhat split on this one. On one hand I can see the benefits of limiting people from driving at insane speeds, though I wonder how many times fatal accidents are due to speeding versus DUI, sleep, or texting. I can just imagine how many years off my life I would knock off through the stress resulting from flooring it and not exceeding 55mph.

      Perhaps I would be more inclined to something like this if the speed limit were set at something a bit more reasonable, for example: 80-85mph.

    6. July 8th, 2009 at 17:18 | #6

      I’m not in favor of speed limiters, at least for my car, but I don’t think your marathoner comparison works. A marathon runner who dies of exhaustion will die solo, not in a crash that could also take out a busload of innocent passers-by and/or a whole building.

    1. February 7th, 2014 at 22:03 | #1