‘Speed limiter’ satellite technology proposed in the U.K.

| 1/2/2009

An advisory commission in the United Kingdom has proposed a speed-limiting system for cars and trucks that will use satellite technology.

On a volunteer basis, motorists could opt to have devices installed in their vehicles that would prevent them from traveling above posted speed on any road, according to the report by the Commission for Integrated Transport and a group called Motorists’ Forum.

The system would require the government to implement a satellite grid that includes the posted speed limits on every stretch of road and highway in the country.

Advocates for the program say it will make highways safer and reduce harmful emissions, but critics don’t think so.

One lawmaker, Norman Baker, said the intention of the program may be well-meaning, but there could be dangerous consequences.

“Any attempt to control speed could mean that drivers might not be able to accelerate out of dangerous situations. This could make road safety worse,” Baker said, quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

That is one of the reasons why the U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes new regulations in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec that make computerized speed limiters mandatory on all heavy trucks manufactured after 1995.

As in the U.K., North American truckers and motorists are also concerned about privacy issues stemming from electronic speed control and enforcement.

– By David Tanner, staff writer