(Bloomberg) -- A California lawmaker defended his proposal to force automakers to install devices that prevent drivers from speeding more than 10 miles over the legal limit, saying it would enhance public safety and reduce fatalities from car crashes. “We drive so damn fast,” said State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, at the BloombergNEF summit in the city on Wednesday. More than 4,000 Californians died in vehicle accidents in 2022, a 22% increase from 2019, Wiener said. “It is not normal,” he added. “It doesn’t have to be that way. Other wealthy nations don’t have this problem.” Wiener introduced a bill last week that he said would make California the first state in the US to require carmakers by 2027 to add the devices. The European Union will mandate that the technology be used in all vehicles sold later this year and some local governments in the US, such as Ventura County in California, now require them on their vehicle fleets. “California should lead on this,” Wiener said. “It is a political Rorschach test.”The proposal represents another example of how California lawmakers are unafraid to wield state mandates to achieve public policy goals. The most-populous state is known for setting groundbreaking rules, such as banning sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035. Conservatives have criticized the state’s moves as heavy-handed, accusing California as being a model nanny-state. “I’m all for personal freedom, but personal freedom ends when you are risking killing or maiming other people,” Wiener said of his car speed limit bill. “And when people are driving 90 or 100 miles an hour in a residential neighborhood, that creates a huge risk for people.”
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