UK to follow EU and adopt mandatory speed limiters in cars

The European Commission feel the new technology is a 'huge step forward'

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All new cars sold throughout Europe and the UK are set to require speed limiters, in a new move by authorities to ensure more road safety.

The Intelligent Speed Assistant (ISA) devices are already fitted to many new models and will be mandated for all new cars in two years.

Much like most European car standards, the UK is expected to adopt the compulsory regulations wholesale.

All new UK models introduced from now will have to be fitted with ISA and from July 2024, all new cars will have to engage the ISA once the engine is turned on.

ISA often has to be switched on by the driver in the models of car that already have it.

New regulations coming in will mean the device will be engaged by default on every restart.

New cars on British roads are set to require ISA feature.
New cars on British roads are set to require ISA feature.

The European Commission has described the changes as a "huge step forward" for road safety and "has the potential to dramatically reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities".

The move represents a further step forward in the technological control of vehicles.

ISA detects speed limits on roads through devices such as cameras and satnavs.

Drivers are alerted when their vehicle exceeds the maximum permitted speed such as through audible or vibrating warnings, or by the accelerator pedal gently pushing their foot back.

In some versions, the vehicle’s speed is automatically reduced.

But users can ignore the warnings and override speed reductions.

Other measures in the GSR include driver drowsiness warnings, emergency stop signals, accurate tyre pressure monitoring and event data recorders.

The European Commission has described the move as a 'huge step forward'.
The European Commission has described the move as a 'huge step forward'.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes urged the Government to be “very careful about cherry-picking certain aspects and dropping others” as they all “have the potential to significantly improve safety on the UK’s roads”.

There has been no significant fall in the annual number of UK road deaths since 2010, apart from in 2020 when coronavirus lockdowns led to a huge reduction in traffic.

DfT figures show a driver or rider breaking the speed limit contributes to around one in six fatalities on Britain’s roads.

UK-based manufacturers making cars to be exported into the EU will need to include the GSR measures such as speed limiters.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said some manufacturers are already offering these technologies ahead of regulations.

He went on: “The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, but action to improve our record still further should be welcomed.

“With the heavily integrated nature of the UK and European automotive sectors, regulatory divergence is not advantageous for either party.”

Road traffic lawyer Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole for winning celebrities’ cases on legal technicalities, predicted that speed limiters will be introduced in the UK over the next two years.

He described them as “incredibly dangerous” and “a needless distraction”, as there are “always circumstances where you need to briefly accelerate”.

He went on: “To have a device which will automatically prevent the driver from being able to escape from danger – as well as the freedom to make decisions – is ridiculous.

“People should be allowed to drive. I’m not against safety devices but am against losing overall control.”

Dan Powell, senior editor at used car website CarSite, said: “While some people will be understandably nervous about the mandatory introduction of ISA, it’s important to note that it can be manually overridden.

“Some cars feature this tech already and feedback from owners is generally positive.”