Along with states announcing the sales ban of ICE vehicles next decade, the war on driving cars is continuing with yet another law, this time targeting the speedometer. According to reports, New York State could implement speed limiters for all newly registered vehicles, as well as new blind spot standards aimed at reducing pedestrian accidents in just over a year from now. Senate Bill S9528 was introduced by Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman, and would require Intelligent Speed Assistance devices to be mandated on all new vehicles manufactured on or after January 1st, 2024, and registered in the state.
The bill would be an extension of an already existing pilot program implemented by the state, in which 50 vehicles in its municipal fleet operate with Intelligent Speed Assistance systems installed. The end goal of that program would be the installation of the systems in the city’s entire 30,000-vehicle fleet.
A similar mandate in the European Union is slated to come into force in July 2024, but in a more passive capacity compared to the American bill, which would use GPS and visual data to detect the speed limit.
The speed limiter is just one of the “advanced safety technology” systems that would be required under the new safety standards. The bill also includes some other systems to be mandated that are aimed at making the road safer for pedestrians. According to the bill, these systems include “Active Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB), Emergency Lane Keeping Systems (ELKS), Blind Spot Information Systems (BSIS), Drowsiness and Distraction Recognition Technology, Rear-View Camera Sensor Systems, and Event Data Recorders (EDR).”
Most of these systems are already standard in modern vehicles, or they are available options. However, the bill keeps going, and includes a subdivision “requiring the commissioner [of motor vehicles] to issue regulations for vehicles over 3,000 pounds to limit blind spots and establish standards regarding direct visibility of pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users from the driver’s position, by reducing to the greatest possible extent the blind spots in front and to the side of the driver.”
Most new vehicles today that are over 3,000 pounds come with active safety systems such as blind spot alert, front and rear parking sensors, and pedestrian/cross traffic sensing. 3,000 pounds is also not a lot for a modern vehicle. A C8 Corvette weighs well over 3,000 pounds, for instance.
One of the roadblocks to the bill will be if New York is allowed to set its own vehicle safety standards because as of now, they are the exclusive responsibility of the U.S. federal government and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. SUVs are obviously the target of this bill, as they not only tower over pedestrians but also have poor visibility and weigh much more than a standard sedan.
Traffic-related deaths in New York City have had a startling uptick in the past couple of years. In 2020 alone, 243 traffic-related deaths were reported, while that number jumped to 270 in 2021. Hoylman says that the rise is attributed to the failure of the promise of Vision Zero, and that the new mandates will improve safety for everybody.
Along with Senate Bill S9528, New York has implemented new legislation that will ticket motorists if their vehicle is “too loud.” This will be conducted via audio sensors connected to speed cameras. On the federal level, President Biden’s high budget infrastructure bill looks to disable vehicles from moving based on surveillance equipment that looks to detect impaired driving as soon as 2026, without clear measures as to how.
Meanwhile, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg wants a national network of speed cameras, and has been vocal about raising the gasoline tax back in 2021. Over at the EPA, orders have directed automakers to average 40 mpg by 2026, accelerating the electric vehicle arms race. The problem is, inflation is making so-called zero-emission vehicles increasingly unattainable, while the rare earth metal supply chain executives have confessed that it won’t be able to meet the demand that politicians are forcing onto the industry within the arbitrary window they’re demanding.