As of 6 July, speed limiters – or Intelligent Speed Assistance systems – have become mandatory in all new vehicles sold in the European Union. Despite the UK leaving the EU, it has been speculated that the legislation will be applied here in a bid to reduce the number of road traffic collisions happening on our roads.
Speed limiters are safety devices that are relatively easy to install, their primary use is to stop people from driving at a speed that is not suitable for their surroundings. It’s important to note that speed limiters are not the same as cruise control, which are designed to maintain a consistent speed for longer journeys.
As Road Traffic Accident Solicitors, we see first-hand how speeding and reckless driving can ruin people’s lives and we welcome the mandatory installation of speed limiting devices. In this article, we’ve outlined how the devices will work to keep drivers safe as well as the impact their widespread use is likely to have.
If you’ve been involved in a road traffic accident which was not your fault, we could help you claim compensation. Get in touch with our experienced Road Traffic Accident Solicitors for initial advice.
How do Speed Limiters Work?
Speed limiters are designed to identify speed signs using either a video or GPS-linked system. If the system detects that the driver of the vehicle is going over the speed limit, it will sound an alert.
If the driver fails to slow down after hearing the alert, the speed limiter will intervene by limiting the engine’s power and effectively slowing the vehicle down to the appropriate speed.
Some driving associations have raised concerns that the new signalling system might be irritating or distracting for drivers. To combat this, manufacturers have been given a number of different options for alerting drivers, including:
- the driver’s foot being gently pushed back on the accelerator;
- the system automatically reducing the engine power without an alert (this can be overridden by pushing the pedal again);
- flashing visual signs to be followed by an audio alert if the driver does not slow down;
- a visual cue followed by the accelerator pedal vibrating.
What Impact is the new Legislation Expected to Have?
According to a recent report by GOV.UK, there were 1,390 fatalities and 23,149 serious injuries resulting from road traffic collisions between June 2020 and June 2021.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has predicted that having speed limiters installed in every car will reduce collisions by about 30 percent and save approximately 25,000 lives in the next 15 years alone. Additionally, the European Commission has stated that the speed limiters (as well as other measures included in new legislation) could prevent 140,000 serious road traffic accident injuries by 2038.
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