What are Speed Limiters and Why is the Fed Pushing for Them?

The National Transportation Safety Board, program within the Transportation Department, is attempting to once again limit the speeds cars are able to reach. While this isn’t the first time it has happened, it is certainly a debatable topic amongst Americans. Whether it be speed limiters or dead pedals, the regulators want automakers to put a limit on how high their cars are able to reach. While the Department of Transportation has encouraged the automakers to lower the top speeds of their cars, there is almost no chance they actually do it without a mandate, people simply like fast cars. If people like fast cars and its what they want to buy from companies, more than likely the auto companies will keep producing them.

Why the Limit?

The city of New York recently purchased 50 new vehicles for city workers that have intelligent speed assistance technology. This new technology uses GPS technology to track where the cars are, and even limit the car’s capable acceleration to keep it under a speed limit. There is a button however to turn off the function if there is a special need to speed up to merge. The NTSB feels the mandate is necessary as the spike in traffic deaths since the beginning of COVID-19.

Automakers Position

Much to the agreement of the common people, the automakers feel that it is too controlling, and it is very unlikely that they coincide with the new technology to be standard in every vehicle as it is simply a recommendation. Thankfully the NTSB can at this point only recommend the Department of Transportation to implement this cap on speed, but not actually make it into a law.

How do they Work?

In order to limit your speed in vehicles, companies implement speed limiters, also known as dead pedals. They have been used before successfully in commercial fleet vehicles for many years now. However, the vehicles purchased by New York City are somewhat different and more advanced. By using GPS to monitor the city limits, check the speed, it is able to cap the speed to a speed they determine safe. The companies that create the software can limit a car’s speed with physical blocks on the throttle body or simply with software design.


While there are many departments within the federal government that want to limit the speed you drive, it is very unlikely that it really happens. Even though there is more than enough software to prevent cars from reaching extremely high speeds, the only way this actually happens is if the government mandates it. The NTSB has been encouraging the Department of Transportation to implement this mandate, but as of now they can simply encourage automaker companies to implement this in their own cars. Congress is not opposed to implementing new software in cars, like the anti-drunk-driving technology to new cars in 2026, so it is entirely possible that a dead pedal could come in down the line. However, as long as people like their speed, companies will continue to give them their high speed vehicles.