I'm Sorry Dave, I Can't Let You Drive That Fast
from the death-race-2000 dept
Transport authorities in London are planning to test systems that would prevent cars from going over the speed limit in an attempt to reduce traffic fatalities. They want to create a “digital speed-limit map” that could be used by GPS navigation systems to alert drivers of the speed limit on the road they’re traveling, while it would also presumably be linked to a speed limiter that would cut down engine revolutions should a driver go to fast. This idea won’t be received well, though it probably won’t meet as much resistance as the car that automatically gives speeders tickets. One common criticism of the devices will likely use the hypothetical situation of somebody needing to get to a hospital quickly, and the device being the difference between life or death. That may be true, though it’s a highly unlikely situation for most people; more of a concern are the unintended consequences the devices could create. Part of the problem with driving laws that attack symptoms of bad driving, rather than bad driving itself (like cell phone driving bans) is that they create a mistaken air of safety. With these devices, it’s not hard to see people simply laying on the gas, and letting the device control their speed, since after all, if you’re obeying the speed limit, you must be driving safely, right? The devices can’t sense current road conditions and limit speeds accordingly, like a human driver, and like cruise control, they may not be able to account for sharp curves in the road or other environmental factors. So while these types of devices are introduced in the name of safety, there’s a good chance they could actually make the roads less safe.