Are speed limiters coming to the UK?

Could UK drivers soon see speed limiters on new cars? What does this mean for driving?
Speed limiters

UK drivers could soon be prevented from speeding by a new device that physically limits a vehicle’s speed. Do speed limiters have a place on UK roads?

Campaigners hope this move will revolutionise road safety, the proposal is to have all new vehicles in the EU fitted with a system that restricts them from breaking the speed limit. UK still has plans to emulate any EU policies to do with road safety even after its withdrawal. After its approval by MEPs (Members of European Parliament), speed limiting technology could become mandatory in all new cars within three years. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), support the implementation of this type of technology, claiming they could reduce collisions by 30% and save an estimated 25 000 lives within 15 years.

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What The ETSC Say?

The ETSC say that the limiters work by using GPS to establish what the speed limit is on a given road and automatically limits the speed of the vehicle. ISA (Intelligent Speed Assistance) doesn’t automatically apply the brakes, it limits engine power preventing further acceleration past the current speed limit, unless overridden.

The ETSC have suggested an on/off switch to be included at first, a move that hopes to make it more popular. This would enable the limiter to be overridden by pushing hard on the accelerator. It would mean motorists do still have the option of speeding up if the circumstances required. If the driver continues to stay above the speed limit, a warning would sound, and visual warning would alert the driver until the car has decreased its speed and sits on or below the speed limit again. Cars fitted with limiters will also have data loggers to track the system. This brings to light another debate over ‘Big-Brother’ and how this could be used to track and monitor people.

Even though the UK is leaving the EU, it’s highly likely that speed limiter rules would apply here. The UK’s VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency) has announced that it intends to mirror EU rules post-Brexit, car makers are highly unlikely to manufacture different vehicles specifically for the UK market.

Other aspects of driving could change when Britain leaves the EU, like needing to carry extra documentation when driving in mainland Europe and added import tariffs.

TerraClean does not endorse breaking speed limits, but we do question whether this could be considered a step too far? The freedom of driving is slowly disappearing and could possibly deter motorists purchasing specific models because they won’t be able to enjoy the engine to its full capacity. Will we see a boom in the second-hand market with older vehicles becoming more valuable to those who seek out the pleasure of driving? Or could this simply be preparation for driverless cars?