Mandatory speed limiters due on all cars within three years


European leaders vote to make speed limiters, data loggers and a host of other safety features mandatory on all new cars sold from 2022

All new cars sold in the EU are set to be fitted with mandatory speed limiters by 2022, after the European Parliament, Council and Commission approved the fitment of a wide range of safety measures for new cars.

Mandatory data loggers, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, a driver fatigue detection system, reversing sensors or cameras, and pre-wiring for alcohol interlock devices will also be fitted to all new cars under the rules.

The limiters – dubbed Intelligent Speed Assistance, or ISA – use traffic-sign-recognition cameras and/or GPS data to determine the maximum permitted speed in a particular area, automatically limiting engine power and a vehicle’s speed to the prevailing limit.

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The push for mandatory speed limiters ishas been spearheaded by the European Transport Safety Council, which says the limiters will reduce traffic collisions by 30 per cent, and save 25,000 lives within 15 years of coming into force. Following political agreement from the European Parliament, Council and Commission, the proposals are now set to be formally approved by the European Parliament and Council.

The ETSC only recommends a “full on/off switch” for the limiters should be included “to aid public acceptance at introduction”, indicating it intends to push for even stricter rules in the future. While it would be possible to override the ISA by pushing hard on the accelerator, the system would be activated every time the car is started.  

The ETSC’s recommendations also stipulate 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.” Once the car returns to or below the speed limit, the limiter would automatically reactivate.

The UK’s exit from the EU is unlikely to have much effect on the ISA legislation: car makers are unlikely to homologate vehicles specifically for the UK market, while the UK’s type approval centre, the VCA, has previously said it intends to mirror European rules post-Brexit.

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