Do We Need A Law? Pt. 2

There was no great thread for stupid legislative proposals which aren’t particularly partisan.

Contemplations on desired Executive Orders, etc. might be relevant here too.

In this case: A man was speeding while on PCP and cocaine and killed some people.

Proposal: Add something onto all new vehicles to warn the driver if they’re speeding.

Note that they’re also considering requiring speed governors on new cars.

I can see the rationale for that, and would address the post-pandemic plague we have locally of a few drivers aggressively weaving in and out of traffic on the freeways at 100mph…but considering that they’re annoying me when I’m driving 10 over the speed limit, and that more than a few speed limits out there are set based on political desires rather than safety/engineering considerations…

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Warn, sure.

Restrict… I’m less sure about that. Is the car going to be aware of the speed limit and conditions? Driving 84 mph on an 80 mph section of the interstate (yes, this exists out west) during the daylight when it’s clear and dry is pretty radically different from driving 84 mph in a school zone during school hours when the sun isn’t up yet and it’s raining.

My car thinks it knows the speed limit but it is frequently wrong in both directions, often by a lot. (Says the speed limit is 45 mph when it is actually 25 mph, that sort of thing.)

It’s one thing to flash a warning letting me know it’s worried I might be speeding. Quite another to prevent me from going 55 mph because it erroneously believes the speed limit is 35. It also doesn’t know if there’s some sort of emergency situation I’m dealing with that might justify speeding (rushing someone to the hospital, for example, or trying to get ahead of an obviously drunk driver).

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Yeah, you’d certainly have to fix this problem.

The vehicles would need some kind of bypass or couldn’t be sold across many national borders (except with some annoying chime). People in comments elsewhere were chattering about rentals in Dubai having such sensors constantly going off as they sped above what the vehicles were made for.

I wonder if they could do something clever like “The average driver drives this road [speed limit + 2 mph]” to make people feel like they’re being out of the norm by speeding

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I’d vote for governors. Self driving cars have to have methods for determining speed limits. They do it by reading signs and referencing GPS maps. If all cars had governors we could certainly make those systems robust.

Cars could have an override button. If you push it, you can go faster but your lights flash.

The GPS system can have a switch that turns off the governor control. That way, governors can be installed in new cars for multiple years before they are active. That can also mean that some states won’t use them, at least on some roads.

I assume that legislators (who are also drivers) will move speed limits up a little when cars start obeying speed limits exactly.

I was thinking more about situations like my street.

There were a series of meetings regarding traffic issues – speeding, semis going to/from a warehouse park at the end of the street, etc. My street predates European settlement, and therefore has some lousy sightlines (especially where my driveway connects) and has a fair amount of bike traffic, as well as joggers from a nearby office complex. Most of us who live on the street avoid walking due to traff/sightlines/lack of sidewalks.

The road naturally “drives” at 40mph, with a number of folks going 50+ (which makes putting trash at the street, or checking the mail “interesting”, and there’s been a couple of delivery vehicles hit), but is posted with a 30mph speed limit.

On more than one occasion, in these meetings, my neighbors asked if the speed limit could be reduced. The response back was:

  • Engineering standards indicated the speed limit ought to be 35. A state law passed after the speed limit was set requires engineering standards to define the speed limit (subject to the state speed limit of 50/55/65 mph), so if the speed limit were changed…it’d have to go up.
  • The town ran a few tests with a speed gun and plate reader; most of the excessive speeders were from the neighborhood, and therefore neighborhood peer pressure was thought to be a better way to manage that problem.

In the end, they experimented with various traffic calming measures, and settled for putting in a small median where possible, adding a couple of pointless roundabouts (I think of them as lateral speed bumps), and restriping the road to give the appearance of narrower lanes where the small median couldn’t be safely added.

Then there’s another street that I regularly travel in a neighboring town. It’s a popular alternative to taking the freeway through Hartford to get between northern and western suburbs, which also avoids a congested arterial road. It also drives 40-45, probably should be posted 35-40…but there’s quite a bit of resistance from residents to change from the currently-posted (and mostly ignored) 25 mph.

Perhaps just… ticket people?

Post a cop there during the worst offending times, prominently out for a week. Then every other day for a while but less conspicuous. Then once a week for the next few months.

Or if the speeding doesn’t calm down, don’t decrease the monitoring and pull in money.

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This information is somewhat dated, but: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/rpt/pdf/2019-R-0285.pdf

tl;dr: In CT, in 2019, speeding tickets started at $157. Of that $157, only $20 goes to the town.

While a cop does speed enforcement on the street a few hours each week, as part of a regular rotation of speed enforcement in town, $20 per ticket isn’t enough revenue to add staff and equipment for more frequent speed traps (especially in the neighborhood that regularly votes against the town budget due to tax levels).

Interesting. I admit ignorance on my state’s setup, I’d be surprised if it’s so low but maybe.

More warnings flashing in a car is a distraction to the driver.

I do not like the idea of governors on cars. Sometimes it is necessary to drive faster to avoid a situation (such as a highway merge or ). I do not agree with the forcible slowing down of a vehicle that is not requested by the operator. I’m still on the fence about the current technology forcing some cars to brake if following too close.

Lane departure forced steering is also problematic.

An overarching issue is the trust in the technology/electronics to work properly all of the time.

Heck, my new car has the “auto brights” when driving at night. They turn on/off way too frequently, and 10-20% of the time they are a hazard to other drivers. This technology is simply flawed.

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That would entail killing a lot of people.

It all seems bad, built for the average situations, when most hazardous driving happens at the tails.
Before I buy my next and last car, I will be asking how to turn off the “safety” features that are actually bugs. And, how to turn off the distracting screen. If they cannot be turned off, then I’m going to the next company’s dealer.

This is a huge security issue. Imagine if Kim Jong Un hacked this system and set the speed limit on every interstate to 2 mph and no one could go faster than that.

So the current speed limit is 30, state law would make it 35 if it were changed, but drivers regularly travel 40-50 and that makes it dangerous for everyone else who uses it.

Seems like a perfect situation for speed governors.

My house is on a hill with a long-ish but straight driveway. If I go about 1 mph faster than my standard speed down the driveway my car freaks out and decides that a collision with the driveway (which the sensor is pointed at while I’m driving down the hill) is imminent and it slams on the brakes confusing me and making me think that I’ve actually hit something when I have done no such thing nor am I in any danger of hitting anything. You know as the car gets closer to the bottom of the driveway, the tires actually continue to hold the frame safely above the surface of the driveway and prevent a collision with the ground.

The driveway is steep, but it’s not THAT steep. Just steep enough to needlessly scare my car and put unnecessary wear & tear on my brakes and cost me some MPGs.

In that case, everyone punches their override button and they drive normally. People can see that other drivers are having the same issue because they can see the flashing lights.

Imagine if Kim Jong Un hacked the credit card system or the electric grid or the cell phone system … I think auto governors have the most robust backup.

I don’t follow. Not having a speed governor would entail killing a lot of people???