San Francisco lawmaker walks back bill that would ban cars from driving more than 10 mph over speed limit

New cars in California will have to have visual and audio alerts if the bill becomes law.

California lawmakers have watered down a bill that would have banned cars from driving more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. 

Instead, drivers will see a passive warning system in new cars starting in 2029. 


The backstory: Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 961, which would have forced all new vehicles sold in 2027 or later to be equipped with speed limiter technology that would cap a vehicle’s speed at 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. 

  • Wiener said when he introduced the bill that it was in response to a 22 percent increase in road deaths in California over the past few years. 

The big picture: Earlier this week Wiener amended the bill to just require audio and visual signals to alert drivers when they exceed 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. 

  • Half of new vehicles sold starting in 2029 will be required to have the built-in alerts if SB 961 becomes law, while all new vehicles will have the mandate by 2032. 
  • The Senate Transportation Committee passed the bill by an 8-4 vote along party lines, with Democrats approving it. 

What we’re watching: SB 961 will head to the Senate Appropriations Committee before going to the Senate floor for a full vote. 

What they’re saying: “We heard feedback from colleagues that people were not comfortable with an active physical barrier to going above a certain speed,” Wiener said during Tuesday’s committee hearing. “People might need to go at a higher speed. We listened, we heard, worked with the committee and changed it.”

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