Making the 85 MPH Speedometer Seem Fast

  • January 26, 2024

Some will remember when the federal government tried to make drivers “slow down” for “safety” by requiring the car companies to not install speedometers in the vehicles they made that read higher than 85 MPH. The thinking being that drivers would then not try to drive any faster than that.

What’s coming next – via California – is something a bit more controlling.

And it’s already here. Everywhere.

This latter is a fact unnoticed by news coverage of the proposed law put forward by a San Francisco Leftist (they are not “liberals” . . . Thomas Jefferson was a liberal) named Scott Wiener to electronically limit the top speed of all new cars to 80 MPH, which is 10 MPH more than the maximum legal speed limit in CA.  The Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction (or SAFER, of course) act would impose this requirement on all new cars made beginning with the 2027 model year.

Now, the punchline is it’s not just California drivers whose 2027 model year cars – including their “ludicrous speed” Teslas – that will be throttled to Yugo Speed if this Leftist’s proposal becomes law. It will be everyone who drives a car made during the past three years or so,  anywhere in the country.

Because Speed Limit Assistance Technology is already a fait accompli – as the French say.

This technology will be used to control rather than assist you, whether Wiener gets his way or not. Many vehicles made since circa 2019 or so came equipped with it as part of the suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Technologies that just kind of sprouted up, like electronic kudzu and seemingly (dubiously) organically.

This technology – which practically every 2024 model vehicle now comes standard with – has the capability to do exactly  what Leftists such as Wiener itch to do. That being to control not just how fast you are allowed to go but how you are allowed to go, period.

The technology – which is marketed as innocuous, just a helpful tool to help you avoid inadvertently driving over the speed limit by alerting you to the fact that you are driving faster than the speed limit (an icon illuminates, a tone sounds) as if you didn’t know that  . . . can and will be used to make sure you don’t drive faster than speed limit.

This is easily done in an electronically controlled car, which is all new cars; no need to wait for 2027.

You may think you have control over how the car goes because it’s your foot that pushes down on the accelerator (and it’s your hands on the wheel) but these are merely input devices in an electronically controlled new car, similar to the toggles on a Playstation set.

You don’t control whether the car moves – let alone “speeds.” The car’s electronic controls – its computer – does. When your foot pushes down on the accelerator pedal, a signal is sent to the computer which interprets the data and speeds up the engine, which makes the car go.

It – the computer – has absolute control over this.

You have the illusion of control.

The car – its computer – also knows what the speed limit is on the road you happen to be driving on, thanks to GPS technology and connected technology. And it knows how fast the car is moving in relation to the speed limit. If it is moving faster than the speed limit, it assists you by illuminating that icon and sounding the warning tone.

But it could and will – as Leftists intend – be used to make sure you don’t drive faster than the speed limit.

The computer will be programmed (probably via an update sent via the connected technology most new cars already have) to not allow it – and there’s essentially nothing you can do about it, other than not buy a car made since roughly 2019 or so and probably at least ten years older than that, just to be safe.

These creepy facts are omitted from coverage of what’s percolating in California, such as this piece in The Drive by a car journalist named Nico Demattia, who either does not know much about cars or is shy about telling you the truth about what’s going on, perhaps because he’s owned by corporate interests (as all journalists who work for a corporate check are owned).

He describes what Weiner proposes as if it were not already fact. Merely not yet entirely activated. And he begins by agreeing with the Leftist. The first sentence of his piece pleadingly reads, “everyone wants safer roads.”

As if that had anything to do with this.

He writes:

“You’d figure Porsche might have a harder time selling 911 Turbos electronically restricted to 80 mph, as that doesn’t really get the blood pumping. Hopefully the GPS would know to switch the finger-wagging off at a designated racetrack.”

Notice the obsequious – the oily – agreeing with Wiener’s premise that driving faster than the speed limit is something to be allowed only at a “designated racetrack.”

This is the epitaph of modern car journalism.

And the technology, ironically, will be the epitaph of something else as well.

Tesla and purveyors of similar high-performance battery powered devices favored (and pushed) by Leftists will have an even harder time selling them when they can no longer tout the speed that was the one thing they could tout as an appealing thing. Could there be anything more ridiculous than a “ludicrous speed” EV that is leashed to a speed that an ’85 Yugo GV could (eventually) achieve?

And the Yugo, for all the abuse heaped upon it, was a more practical car than a battery powered car and it cost less than a fourth of what the least expensive battery powered device does, today.

. . .

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