Are all new cars to be speed limited?
It is looking exceedingly likely that from 2022 all vehicles sold within the EEC will have limiters installed to prevent them from exceeding certain speed limits. This will also apply in the United Kingdom. Road safety experts believe that this could potentially save thousands of lives every year.
The system is called ISA, or Intelligent Speed Assistance.
How will it work?
Two main systems are being considered, and vehicles may well contain either, or both, of them: -
- A GPS system will determine what the speed limit is on the road that the car is currently driving along;
- The vehicle can be fitted with cameras, which are capable of reading speed limit signs;
The maximum speed of the vehicle will then be kept below the local speed limit.
Is there a unanimous approval?
Not necessarily. The Automobile Association, for instance, has pointed out that occasionally it is far safer for cars to exceed the speed limit when coming off a slip road, overtaking other vehicles or in certain emergency situations. There is also the fear that driver boredom may set in, resulting in accidents caused by tiredness and lack of concentration.
Can it be overridden?
It is proposed that drivers should be encouraged to drive below the speed limit, rather than be obliged to do so. There may well be an override switch, and a possibility that pressing hard upon the accelerator pedal will temporarily allow a higher speed.
So will drivers continue to break speed limits?
Sadly for the boy racers, it is envisaged that each car will be fitted with a black box that will record all aspects of a journey, including any driving in excess of the speed limit. This will not necessarily be reported immediately to the police (although this may well happen eventually), but it may be used in evidence by either police officers or insurance investigators in the event of an accident or an alleged motoring infringement.
Is it reliable?
A number of major car manufacturers, such as Volvo, Ford, and Mercedes Benz already have produced vehicles containing the technology. Progress will no doubt be made over the coming years before these systems become mandatory.
Will it have any effect?
Along with other technologies which are in the pipeline, which include lane keeping and automatic braking systems, monitoring of driver fatigue and even on-board breathalysers to deter drink drivers, the hope is that the number of road fatalities throughout Europe will approach zero by the middle of this century.