City tests speed restriction tech on small number of municipal vehicles

city vehicle
A city-owned vehicle at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Aug. 11.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Push it to the limit — but not any faster!

New York City is testing speed restriction technology on a few dozen of its municipal vehicles, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), which oversees the Big Apple’s roughly 24,500 on-road vehicles, has installed so-called intelligent speed assistance on 50 of its cars and trucks, or about 0.2%, but Mayor Adams said it could come to the entire fleet if the pilot program proves successful.

“We’re urging New Yorkers to slow down so we have to start with our fleets first,” Adams said at a press conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Aug. 11. “It will ensure that speeding is impossible in city vehicles.”

The technology tracks where the cars are and the local speed limit, and automatically slows down if drivers exceed the posted speeds.

“As you drive the car — and you know we set this for a 15-mile-per-hour zone — the vehicle will not allow you to accelerate over 15,” said DCAS Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman. “If you really try hard you’ll get to 16 or 17 and then the vehicle will draw you back.”

Mayor Adams pitched the project as a way to make Gotham’s streets safer and as setting an example.

“It’s going to kick in gear and [we] continue to use technology to make us safer, to make sure that we’re able to lead from the front,” the mayor said. 

The technology is apparently needed for some lead-footed bureaucrats.

The plate of a city car Mayor Adams used to demonstrate the scheme at the Brooklyn tech campus was fined for speeding in a school zone in Queens on June 3, according to state records.

Mayor Eric Adams tests a DCAS vehicle with the speed restriction technology at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Aug. 11.Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The six-month initiative costs $80,000 to retrofit and install the technology. 

The city will test the anti-speeding tech on vehicles used by seven agencies, including the Parks Department, Transportation Department, Department Environmental Protection, Taxi and Limousine Commission, Housing Preservation and Development, and the Business Integrity Commission.

Adams’s NYPD security detail in which he arrived and left the Thursday press conference will continue to chauffeur hizzoner around the Five Boroughs without the speed restrictions, because they are classified as emergency vehicles and thereby exempt, the mayor said.

“Exempted currently from this technology are emergency vehicles and my vehicle at this time will be exempted as one of the use of emergency vehicles,” he said. “How my vehicles are used is determined by the Police Department, dealing with the safety apparatus, they make that determination.”

He justified his carveout saying he needed to traverse the city quickly to get to emergencies. 

“Anything could happen in this city any time of night that may cause us to move at a non-traditional rapid speed,” Adams added. “If I have an explosion, if I have a plane landing on the river, if I have any type of emergency — this is a real city with real problems and real issues, and I don’t need for you to be at the scene saying, ‘Why did it take the mayor so long to get there.’”

One of the Chevy Suburbans in Adams’s convoy Thursday has also been caught speeding twice this year, in Queens on April 22 and in Brooklyn on July 6.