Sitting among a range of new safety features due for all new cars, the mandatory speed limiters come as part of a proposal from the European Transport Safety Council, recently approved by a group of key MEPs. Regardless of whether the UK is in the EU, it has been confirmed that the UK will receive the technology.
Dubbed Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), the limiters will use GPS data and/or traffic sign recognition cameras to determine the speed limit of the road a vehicle is travelling on. Engine power will then be limited to match this, preventing the car from exceeding the speed limit. It will be possible to override the system by pushing hard on the throttle, however the system will be engaged every time a car is started.
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If you think you can simply keep pressing a little harder on the throttle to break through the system, think again. ETSC also states 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.’
A feature already seen on models such as the new Ford Focus and set to be imposed on all new Volvos from next year, the speed limiters will come alongside data loggers, autonomous emergency braking systems, lane keep assist, driver fatigue detection systems and other safety measures. It’s not all quite as bad as you may think, as the European Transport and Safety Council admits the system will come with a full on/off switch initially. This is only “to aid public acceptance at introduction” however, and so it’s likely that it intends to push for even stricter rules in the future, meaning a permanent system may come into force.
The systems will be required on all new models given ‘type’ approval from May 2022, with all models on the market before that date required to adopt the tech by May 2024. With the recent confirmation of the UK’s adoption of the technology came interesting news from the Department for Transport, stating that it expects limiters "to give drivers feedback when the speed limit is exceeded rather than limiting the speed" with a reduction in engine power as previously understood.
The push for the new safety tech is down to the supposed reduction it will bring in traffic collisions and lives lost; ETSC says the limiters will reduce collisions by 30 per cent and save 25,000 lives within 15 years of being introduced.