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Page first written 4 September 2003
Last updated 4 September 2003
New obligations for Japanese HGVs to fit speed limiters
This news release says that, from September 2003, new government regulations will force Japanese HGVs to fit speed limiters. On 31 August, Asahi.com reported that an experiment before the introduction of such regulations revealed that the travel time between Kyushu, southernmost of the four main islands of Japan, and Tokyo area, some 1,000 kilometres apart, will increase by up to five hours. Five hours! This clearly means that speeding was the norm. No wonder why other modes such as railways could not compete.
The leader comment of Yomiuri Shimbun on 4 September said there were debates in the Diet (Japanese parliament) of the possible impact on the country's economy. However, the impact will not necessarily be a positive one; for example, the damages that have been found in the structures of the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo is probably largely due to many overloaded HGVs, carrying sometimes twice or three times as heavy as they legally can. This in turn results in a huge amount of taxpayers' (or toll-payers') money being spent on repairs, which may well surpass economical benefits of low-cost transport.
Probably, in not a far future, the similar sort of limiter will be fitted onto private cars. If so, I hope that the limiter will be sufficiently intelligent, with at least the function to limit vehicle speed to a level that is permitted 'at the site, at the time' that the vehicle is running.
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TAKAGI, Ryo email@example.com (c) R. Takagi 2003. All rights reserved.