Speed limiters won’t work

Bob Flavin
So you want a young person to slow down while driving, that’s like telling them that they are not allowed to have sex. Young people like danger, it’s built in to everyone, we like to test our limits, if you factor in that driving very fast is exciting you have a disaster waiting to happen.
Now there’s calls for speed limiters to be put on cars, that won’t work either. There have been speed limiters put on motorbikes for years, the riders go to a “mate” who knows how to take it off. The second problem is enforcement, the Garda have enough to do without poking around under the bonnet of a car looking for a limiter that might or might not be connected to anything. If you electronically limit the car at the factory the Garda will need a laptop to find out if the limit works.
The final problem with the speed limiter is what speed is the limit? Let’s take 100kms; I know many roads in Ireland that aren’t able to carry are car travelling at 50kms let alone 100kms. What about overtaking? The speed limiter will only will only work sometimes, after all we are dealing with young people, the same young people who can hack your password to the computer or even your mobile phone.
There are some other solutions on the table, restrict the size of the engine. The Fiat 500 twin air puts out 85bhp from a 0.9ltr engine; the Alfa Romeo Giulietta has 170bhp from a 1.4ltr!
So if you can’t stop them speeding what’s the solution?
Education. There’s no better way of learning to control a skid than to teach someone what it’s like to be out of control in a safe environment with an instructor. There are many courses like this that exist in Ireland already it’s just a question of organisation, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (http://www.iami.ie/) run these courses already, as does Mondello park.
A speed limiter will be defeated, engine sizes don’t matter anymore, the only answer is education

  • One other issue. Fit a limiter and everyone with one with blithely drive at all times on the limiter, regardless of the conditions, the road or the car (and its tyres, brakes etc…). Having mindless drivers heading off to tour the country’s roads at the same speed, all the time, is a terrifying thought.

    • thenextgear

      Good point Neil, can you imagine the queue behind some young guy who can’t go faster than the limit set on his car? Even speed limits on the roads are treated as a target. appreciate the visit, the next gear team always read http://www.edrive.ie

  • Gar O’Neill

    Some very good points there. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than making a perfectly safe overtaking manoeuvre and suddenly hitting the limiter half way through. You’re left out in no-man’s land praying you’ll make it. That’s just not safe. on training I can see the out of touch powers that be seeing this as merely teaching young people how to drive faster,better. As you pointed out engine size won’t work. So what about power output? Say… 100 bhp. That’ll allow for most superminis and smaller engined family cars. It would only work if the car was registered in their name so the output could be checked and approval given by the d.o.t. there’s no easy answer and I’m sure there’s a ton of holes in this idea too. I’m just glad I got it all out of my system 10 years ago and came out unscathed and able to enjoy driving anything I damn well please now. If only I could afford to drive anything I damn well please.

    • thenextgear

      Hi Gar, any car, any horsepower can be driven badly. Plus you have the point that not all drivers under 25 drive like fools. If you educate them you get the chance to show them just how bad it can be in a controlled way.
      Glad you got it out of your system though!