New rules provisionally agreed by the EU mean that speed limiters will become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022.In a move which campaigners hope will revolutionise road safety, all vehicles in the EU would be fitted with a system that restricts them from breaking the speed limit. The Department for Transport say that the UK will follow suit even after its withdrawal. After being approved by the European Commission, mandatory speed limiting technology – called ‘Intelligent Speed Assistance’ (ISA) – could be fitted to all new cars within just three years. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the body which supports the introduction of ISAs, says the limiters would reduce collisions by 30%, and save around 25,000 lives within 15 years.
The ETSC say that these limiters work by using a “speed sign-recognition camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit and automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed.” “ISA systems do not automatically apply the brakes, but simply limit engine power preventing the vehicle from accelerating past the current speed limit unless overridden.” To make the move more popular, the ETSC proposes an on/off switch to be included at first, which would allow the system to be overridden by pushing hard on the accelerator. This override would allow motorists to speed up should circumstances need it, and could mean that stricter rules could be introduced in the future. The ETSC also suggests that “if the driver continues to drive above the speed limit for several seconds, the system should sound a warning for a few seconds and display a visual warning until the vehicle is operating at or below the speed limit again.” All new cars would also be equipped with data loggers to track the system under recommendations from the ETSC.
Even though the UK is planning to leave the EU this year, it’s likely the new speed limiter rules would continue to apply here after Brexit. The UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) has stated it intends to mirror EU rules post-Brexit, while car makers are unlikely to produce different vehicles specifically for the UK market. However, some other aspects of driving are likely to change after Britain leaves the EU.
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