A new California bill would require certain vehicles sold or manufactured in the state to be equipped with speed limiter technology.
California Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced the new bill, officially known as SB 961, as part of the SAFER California Streets legislation package. The package aims to reduce traffic deaths and injuries statewide.
SB 961 would require “every passenger vehicle, motortruck, and bus manufactured or sold in the state” to be equipped with speed limiter technology, starting with the 2027 model year.
The technology would “electronically limit the speed of the vehicle to prevent the driver from exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour,” according to the bill’s text.
Authorized emergency vehicles would be exempt from this rule. Non-emergency vehicles could be exempt from the rule if the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol authorized the technology to be disabled based on specified criteria.
The bill text also says that drivers will be temporarily able to override the technology.
“This speed-limiting technology already exists. The European Union is moving in this direction & the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended adopting the requirement nationally,” Wiener posted on X, formally Twitter.
A June report from TRIP, the National Transportation Research Group, found that traffic fatalities in California increased by 22% from 2019 through 2022, compared to 19% for the U.S. overall.
In another study from the California Office of Traffic Safety, researchers found that from 2017 to 2021, one-third of all traffic fatalities statewide were speeding-related.
SB 961 would also require large trucks built or sold in California to be equipped with side guards “to prevent cars/bikes from being pulled under the truck in a crash.”
As part of the SAFER California Streets legislative package, a second measure would require Caltrans to improve state-owned roads to better protect residents who rely on public transportation.
Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar measure approved by the legislature in 2019.