Super Nanny State California Wants You To Honk Horn While Speeding

Written by Jonathan Miller.

California’s legislature, known for its progressive policies, is pushing a new bill that would require all new cars to beep when drivers exceed the speed limit by more than 10 mph. According to ABC News, this controversial proposal cleared the state Senate on Tuesday and mandates that all new cars sold in California by 2032 include this feature.

The bill aims to improve road safety by alerting drivers when they are speeding. However, it has raised concerns about privacy and the practical implications of such a system. Critics argue that relying on automatic GPS tracking to enforce speed limits could lead to invasive monitoring of drivers’ movements.

This “passive intelligent speed assistance system” would use geolocation to determine a car’s speed relative to the posted speed limit. If a driver exceeds this limit, the system would trigger a visual and audio signal—a persistent beep—to alert them. However, the bill does not require the state to maintain an updated list of speed limits, nor does it address potential issues with outdated GPS software.

Arguments For and Against

State Senator Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat and the bill’s author, argues that the measure is supported by scientific studies. “Research has shown that this does have an impact in getting people to slow down, particularly since some people don’t realize how fast their car is going,” said Wiener. He believes the law will make roads safer and reduce accidents caused by speeding.

Despite these intentions, the proposal has met significant opposition. Republican state Senator Brian Dahle opposed the bill, arguing that it is an example of government overreach. “It’s just a nanny state that we’re causing here,” Dahle said, emphasizing that there are situations, such as emergencies, where drivers need to exceed the speed limit.

The bill passed in the state Senate with a 22-13 vote and is scheduled for a vote in the state Assembly on August 31. If it becomes law, California’s regulations could set a precedent for other states, much like its previous environmental policies.

Broader Implications

California’s regulatory decisions often have far-reaching effects. The state prides itself on influencing national policies, particularly regarding environmental standards. For instance, in 2022, California passed a law prohibiting the sale of gas-powered vehicles after 2035. It has also imposed stringent emissions standards on vehicles and even trains, aiming to lead the nation in green energy initiatives.

However, this new speed limit beep proposal has sparked a debate about the balance between safety and personal freedom. Privacy advocates worry that mandatory GPS tracking could lead to unwarranted surveillance. The potential for outdated GPS data to cause false alerts adds another layer of complexity.

Moreover, the practicality of the system is questionable. Drivers might find the constant beeping intrusive and distracting, potentially leading to more dangerous situations on the road. The lack of a requirement for maintaining updated speed limit data could render the system unreliable, causing more frustration than compliance.

Our Take

California’s new speed limit beep law is a classic example of overregulation. While the intention to improve road safety is commendable, the method raises serious concerns about privacy and practicality. Mandatory GPS tracking infringes on individual freedoms, and the potential for outdated information to cause false alerts undermines the system’s reliability.

Moreover, this law reflects a broader trend of governmental overreach in personal lives. Instead of empowering individuals to make responsible decisions, it imposes a one-size-fits-all solution that may not account for real-world complexities. In emergencies, drivers often need the flexibility to exceed speed limits for safety reasons, and this law fails to accommodate such scenarios.

Furthermore, the intrusion into privacy is significant. GPS tracking can easily be misused, leading to broader surveillance issues. The lack of updated speed limit data exacerbates the problem, potentially turning a well-intentioned safety measure into an unnecessary nuisance.

Ultimately, California’s approach highlights the need for a balance between regulation and personal freedom. While road safety is crucial, it should not come at the cost of individual rights and practical functionality. Policymakers should consider less invasive methods to achieve safety goals without overstepping boundaries.

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