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Are speed limiters the best way to reduce road deaths?

1 August 2019

Story from BBC News.

The European Union is planning to make speed limiters compulsory on all new cars from 2022 and the UK is set to follow suit even after Brexit. But is the technology reliable enough yet?

It is certainly disconcerting at first: you're happily driving along a country road at 60mph (97km/h) when a speed limit sign on the dashboard starts blinking irritably and your car begins to slow down, all by itself.

This is what it feels like to use an intelligent speed assistance system (ISA). Or at least, it's what it feels like if you fail to spot a speed restriction sign and are about to go sailing through a small village at close to double the 30mph limit.

The car will also make sure that as you pass through the village your speed stays down. It does this not by automatically applying the brakes - that's emergency assistive braking - but by limiting the engine power. If your speed does creep up for any reason an insistent electronic chime will alert you.

Systems like this are already available on a number of new cars, although they will only work if you take the trouble to switch them on.

But they will soon become a lot more common, because the European Union is planning to make them compulsory on all new cars from 2022. The European Transport Safety Council has long advocated their use, citing studies suggesting they are the most effective life-saving driver assistance systems.

The Department for Transport has said the same rules will apply in the UK, even once we have left the EU.

In fact, the EU has set out a much wider range of compulsory safety measures that will have to be fitted to all cars from that date, including emergency automatic braking, lane-keeping assistance and systems to prevent drivers from becoming drowsy or distracted.

For the full story and to learn how speed limiting works please click here.


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