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What if you couldn’t speed? If you had to go the speed limit; not 5 over, but nothing above the posted limit? A new prototype car in London is equipped with an “Intelligent Speed Adaptation” system (a high-tech governor) that can tell the local speed limit and won’t let the car speed beyond it. The test-driver notices how slow the actual posted limits are and realizes he has been speeding in his regular car without noticing.

Author Tom Vanderbilt notes inadvertent illegal speeding is probably happening with many drivers:

Someone recently asked me, “why do people speed?” There’s no short answer to that question (I’ve got 250-page reports tackling the question), but one possibility that must be considered, in light of the above sentences, is that: They actually don’t know how fast they are going. Any number of studies have shown how drivers, particularly when the feedback is noisy—i.e., they’re sitting high up from the road, the car cabin is ultra quiet (or the radio loud), the road is very wide—routinely underestimate their speed.

Another blogger, Newton Streets and Sidewalks, finds that going the speed limit doesn’t really affect driving time:

For the last year or so, when I drive, I have been consciously driving at the speed limit on Newton roads. Not at the assumed safe-from-a-speeding-ticket speed limit plus 10 mph, but right smack dab at the speed limit. So far, it does not seem to have a meaningful effect on trip time within the city. And, when I go the speed limit, everyone else behind me goes the speed limit.

They suggest a government sponsored moratorium on speeding in their town for official vehicles and school buses. The London example expects abiding by the speed limit to create for relaxed drivers. There’s nothing like rolling up to the next stop light only to meet up with the speed-demon who just couldn’t wait to “get ahead” in city traffic. [ via How We Drive and StreetsBlog. ]

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Branden Klayko

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