Re: GPS Car speed control advancing in UK

From: BillK (
Date: Mon Jan 29 2001 - 12:41:39 MST

In a message dated Sun, 28 Jan 2001 12:10:38 EST worried -
> Ugh - I read this with dread. As someone who has always gotten pleasure
> out of high-performance cars (and other machines) (see:
>, I sincerely hope this kind of
> technology WILL be used to improve the safety and reliability of autos and
> other transportation technology, but that it won't tempt the nannies to
> castrate high-performance cars.
> What I wouldn't at all mind seeing and something I've thought about before
> is employing technology to allow multiple classes of driver's licenses and
> to regulate speed in proportion to a machine's capabilities and the road
> conditions it encounters. I would gladly pay more for, take a test to get
> and tolerate some slight intrusion into my road-going privacy to be able
> to legally drive faster than current law allows.

The speed limiting technology is mainly concerned about pedestrian deaths
and injuries in built-up areas. A pedestrian hit at 40 mph will almost
certainly die - at 30 mph half will survive. That is why enforcing 30 mph in
towns is considered to be important. Drivers have an incidental benefit as
they and their cars will also suffer less injury in low-speed shunts.

There is no theoretical barrier to having unlimited speed areas on freeways
at certain times. But you would never get the laws passed to permit it as
there would always be a mix of capabilities of cars and drivers at all
times. Here in UK the freeways are busy at all times of the day and night -
it's a crowded little country! :-)

In a message dated Mon, 29 Jan 2001 00:07:17 +0100
"denis bider" <> commented -

> I think laws generally tend to be too strict when they are difficult to
> enforce, so that they are easier to enforce in those cases when they *can*
> be enforced.
> Once technology develops to allow a law to be enforced more easily, the
> law itself needs to be adapted. The assumption that something is difficult
> to enforce is usually designed into laws, so when this assumption stops
> being true, the law needs to evolve consistently - in the spirit of what
> the law was originally meant to achieve, not in the spirit of what the
> letter of the law currently says.
> I am looking forward towards a time when technology will enable us to
> limit ourselves to good behavior by means of technology rather than by
> means of law. However, I fear that some dumbsters in charge won't realize
> that existing laws *do* need to be reconsidered and adapted once this
> takes place. If they are not, this could easily lead to an Orvellian
> society.

This is what I was getting at. As the transparent society technology
approaches, society will increasingly face the dilemma of what to do when
they find that under the existing laws "everyone" is a criminal in some
aspect of their life. The USA found that the Prohibition laws were ruining
their society so they scrapped them. Today the USA prisons are filling up
with soft drugs users and again ruining many lives unnecessarily. The
prisons will continue to fill up until they see sense once again.

Advanced technology can be used to detect more and more "crime" but there is
no point to it. Prison will have to be restricted to serious criminals. I
see this speed limit technology as a sign of the way things will go in the
future. Rather than detection and punishment , which is very expensive,
society will go the cheaper route of either stopping the crime from
happening or scrapping minor offences which are too much trouble to bother

Automatic speed limits, surveillance cameras, tagged goods in shops,
prisoner 'tagging' with ankle bracelets, etc., are all methods of stopping
the crime from ever happening. And there will be much more of this coming
soon. Watch this space!


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