New car safety rules agreed by the European Union will see automatic speed limiters become standard features in all new vehicles from 2022.
All new cars sold in the EU are to be fitted with intelligent speed assistance technology to stop drivers exceeding speed limits.
Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) limiters work by using road sign recognition cameras inside the cars, alongside GPS data, to detect speed limits. If the vehicle is exceeding the limit, the limiter will sound an alarm and slow down the vehicle by automatically regulating power to the engine and adjusting the top speed.
The driver can override the technology by pushing down hard on the accelerator.
Speed limiters are one of 15 new safety features to be made mandatory in cars, HGVs and buses. Crash data recorders, automated emergency braking and reversing cameras are also being mandated, among others.
A number of new cars are already equipped with technology that uses GPS or cameras to detect and adhere to posted speed limits. Volvo has already already taking steps to limit its cars speed to 112 mph and is also exploring technology that could apply stricter speed limits near schools and hospitals.
New rules to apply to UK vehicles
The new safety features are to be installed in all brand new car models across the EU within the next three years, and by 2024 for new versions of existing cars.
The rules are also expected to apply to cars sold in the UK, as the Department of Transport and the Vehicle Certification Agency are to mirror EU vehicle standards, even after Brexit.
Road safety groups have hailed the measures and expect a similar impact on road safety as the introduction of seat belt laws. 4,805 road accidents in 2017 involved drivers exceeding the speed limit, with 203 of these resulting in a death, according to figures from the Department of Transport. That equates to one in seven fatal crashes in the UK.
Others however including motoring and manufacturing groups, have called for a gradual introduction of ISA systems to allow for the supporting infrastructure to be updated; road signs for example are not standardized across Europe, digital maps lack speed limit information for many roads and data is not always current.
The EU rules must now be formally approved by member states and the European Parliament.
UK regulator, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has confirmed that the safety standards will be mirrored in Britain, even if the country is no longer part of the EU.