Speed limiters for cars a must

Jerome NeriAtty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

DURING my younger days, I have lost a friend and have also known of people who died in car wrecks due to recklessness. In every generation there are young teenagers who do not survive the reckless phase in their lives. They die doing something stupid. The ones who survive this part of growing up are the lucky ones, or should I say the ones who did not make it were the unlucky ones.

That recent accident in Tagaytay where five teenage lives were lost is such a tragedy. Apparently, a teenage kid took his friends for a joyride using his parents car without their permission in the wee hours. The car was driven beyond its limits, went out of control and hit a post or a tree. The sad part here is that there were authorities on the scene of the accident. Instead of helping them immediately, the police car on the scene left, supposedly to get backup. The car then caught fire, killing everybody on board.

Witnesses say that at least a life could have been saved if the authorities on the scene immediately helped instead of leaving the scene. Those policemen should be investigated, and they should properly answer why they left the scene, leaving those kids to die.

The Euro 4-certified MyBus units plying the North Reclamation Area in Cebu are said to be controlled by computers, which means limits can be set on speed, among others. (SUN.STAR FILE)
The Euro 4-certified MyBus units plying the North Reclamation Area in Cebu are said to be controlled by computers, which means limits can be set on speed, among others. (SUN.STAR FILE)

Cars today are significantly safer than cars from the 80s and 90s. We now have airbags, side impact protection and better crumple zones. However, cars today are significantly more powerful that the old ones. Take the Toyota Corolla, for instance. I owned a 1978 Toyota Corolla SR as my first car. This was the top model in the Corolla range: it had twin carburettors but only produced 65 horsepower. Today’s top model Corolla has 145 horsepower. To make my Corolla reach 120kph in the good old days was a struggle. With the new Corolla, 150kph is easy. The same goes with most of today’s cars. It is thus easier for a young teen who still feels invincible to bring modern cars to uncontrollable speeds.

With the modern electronics of today’s cars, it will not be difficult for manufacturers to put a programmable speed limit in the cars, so the owner can set a maximum speed the car can travel. Such feature would not only be used to prevent kids from driving too fast, but will be useful when a stranger will have to drive your car like in valet parking or when the car is being serviced in a shop.

Ironically, a speed limiter car be programmed into some of today’s high performance cars, such as the Subaru STI and the Mitsubishi EVO. There are software and hardware available that allows access to the computers of these cars, so that these can be programmed to make them go faster. The exact opposite can also be done with it – make the car run slower and even limit the speed at whatever desired speed limit you want. For the more common cars such as the Vios,the Honda City that is usually a first car for new drivers, there is no software available that can program its computer to set a speed limit. Car manufacturers should look into this.

A friend of mine from Manila was here to service those new Euro 4-certified buses that ply the route between SM City and SM seaside. He was servicing this. He told me that everything in these buses are now controlled by computers and he can set limits on almost everything, including the speed. In fact, he mentioned that he found out that some drivers tend to rev the engine high on cold starts to warm it up quicker. Since this is a bad habit, he programmed into the buses a low rev limit until a certain temperature is achieved. The bad habit is now prevented.

Manufacturers should open up certain parameters, such as speed limiters in cars that will enable the owner to set it and maybe certain accidents can be prevented.

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