Confirmed: speed limiters declared mandatory for all new cars sold in the EU
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All new cars in Europe will be fitted with speed limiters from 2022 under tough EU safety rules.
The Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) black boxes will use GPS to work out what the speed limit is and will then ensure the car doesn't break it. New models will need to have an ISA fitted as standard within three years after the European Commission approved the legislation.
This will include cars in Britain even if Brexit happens because the UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency said it will still mirror the EU rules. But AA president Edmund King said the technology could make cars less safe and the "best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot" when used 'to do the right speed in the right situation'.
'"The right speed is often below the speed limit, for example, outside a school with children around, but with ISA there may be a temptation to go at the top speed allowed which may not be appropriate," he said.
"Sometimes a little speed also helps to keep safe on the road, for example, overtaking a tractor on a country road or joining a motorway."
The bill includes a raft of new safety measures that are now subject to the formal approval of the European Parliament and EU member states in September.
Cars will be have to be equipped with safety systems such as data loggers, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, driver fatigue detection and reversing cameras or sensors. All new models will need to have pre-wiring for alcohol interlocks to allow for the retrofit of in-car breathalysers for previously convicted drink drivers.
ISA technology works in conjunction with traffic-sign-recognition cameras and GPS data to determine the speed limit on the road the vehicle is being driven.
The system can then automatically adjust the restricted top speed by limiting the engine power. However, drivers should be able to override the system by pushing hard on the throttle - just in case they're overtaking another motorist who has decided to put their foot down.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) called for all cars to have a switch to turn the ISA on or off, though each time a vehicle is started the feature will automatically be active.
It will instantly tell the driver to reduce their speed when they're breaking the law. If the driver continues to drive above the speed limit for several seconds, the system should sound an alert for a few seconds and display a visual warning until the vehicle is operating at or below the speed limit again, the transport safety council said.
The council is likely to push for there to be no off switch for the limiters once motorists have become accustomed to the systems.
The legislation is due to come into effect from May 2022 for models that have not yet been approved for production and May 2024 for new cars currently for sale.
The council has been pushing for the introduction of speed limiting technology, claiming it will help to curb road fatalities across the continent.
According to its estimations, limiters will be able to cut traffic collisions by 30 per cent, potentially saving up to 25,000 lives in the first 15 years of them being mandatory.
The news follows Volvo's decision at the beginning of March to restrict the top speed of all its new cars to 180km/h from 2020 in an effort to eradicate all road deaths in its vehicles from 2020. The Swedish brand will also install cameras in its cars from the early 2020s to monitor if drivers are drowsy or drunk - and bring the vehicle to a stop if this is the case.
The measures are subject to the formal approval of the European Parliament and EU member states in September.
And Brexit is unlikely to save UK motorists from the arrival of these limiters.
That's because car manufacturers are not expected to approve models separately for the UK market and the UK's Vehicle Certification Agency - the designated Approval Authority and Technical Service for vehicles in the UK - has previously said it intends to mirror EU rules post-Brexit no matter the outcome.
Commenting on the provisional deal, Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC said: 'There have only been a handful of moments in the last fifty years which could be described as big leaps forward for road safety in Europe.
The mandatory introduction of the seat belt was one, and the first EU minimum crash safety standards, agreed in 1998 was another.
"If last night's agreement is given the formal green light, it will represent another of those moments, preventing 25,000 deaths within 15 years of coming into force."
AA UK president Edmund King supported the introduction of the new safety measures but told Mail Online that motorists should be able to modulate their own speed.
"There is no doubt that new in-car technology can save lives and there is a good case for autonomous emergency braking to be fitted in all cars,' he told us.
"When it comes to Intelligent Speed Assistance the case is not so clear. The best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot and the driver should use it to do the right speed in the right situation.
"The right speed is often below the speed limit, for example, outside a school with children around, but with ISA there may be a temptation to go at the top speed allowed which may not be appropriate.
"Sometimes a little speed also helps to keep safe on the road, for example, overtaking a tractor on a country road or joining a motorway.
"Dodgem cars are fitted with speed limiters but they still seem to crash."
- Daily Mail