Rather Curious; From Another List......
John A. Quayle
blueoval at SGI.NET
Wed Jan 5 15:18:02 MST 2000
London January 5
Satellites to 'spy' on speeding cars
By Patrick Sawer
Drivers might be automatically stopped from speeding by an electronic device
that could be fitted to all cars within 10 years.
A report to be presented to John Prescott next month says the move would
save two-thirds of the 3,500 deaths caused on the roads every year and cut
by a third the annual rate of 320,000 accident injuries.
The Deputy Prime Minister will be told that extensive trials have been such
a success that a phased introduction of speed restrictors would also
dramatically reduce road congestion and cut pollution.
The system uses satellite navigation to pinpoint the location of each
vehicle, an in-car computer loaded with a road map and the speed limits for
each street in the country and a device to cut off the fuel supply if the
speed limits are exceeded.
Any attempt to introduce such a sophisticated device for controlling speed
automatically would see the biggest row over state interference in road
freedom since seatbelt legislation. It is also likely to be resisted by
motor manufacturers who rely heavily on images of fast cars to sell new
However, researchers predict that the equipment, which would cost only a few
hundred pounds per car, will come to be widely accepted as a life-saver,
just as seat-belts were despite initial fierce resistance.
The trials were commissioned by the Department for Environment, Transport
and the Regions and were carried out by a team at Leeds University together
with the Motor Industry Research Association.
Their final report is expected to recommend a 10-year phasing-in period with
the system initially voluntary for older models, compulsory for all new cars
by 2005 and mandatory by the end of the decade. The report will claim that
the benefits will become evident once 60 per cent of vehicles have been
fitted with the device, which will slow the overall speed of traffic.
The system offers the possibility of slowing down traffic not just to
observe speed limits but to cope with particular circumstances such as
outside schools, during traffic jams, following accidents or in dangerous
weather conditions like fog.
Dr Oliver Carsten, head of the Leeds team, predicted the system would soon
be standard across the EU. "The idea that people should have freedom to
flout the law is an odd concept when it is a legal requirement that you
comply with the speed limit. When you drive the car you hardly notice the
speed limiter unless you are deliberately trying to push things too fast."
The Department of Transport said: "There are considerable benefits that
could be had in accident reduction and fuel savings, but it might also mean
that people find other ways of speeding."
Johannes C. Ernharth
Johannes at ernharth.com
The Ernharth Companies
A Member of Partners Financial
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