Sunday, June 16, 2024

European Union: Automatic speed limiters to be mandatory in new cars from July

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Starting in a few weeks, all new cars sold within the European Union will be required to be equipped with an automatic speed limiter. However, the functionality of this “intelligent” device may vary among manufacturers and could potentially prove “incredibly annoying,” according to experts.

Traditionally, authorities have relied on external measures such as speed cameras, speed bumps, and chicanes to encourage drivers to reduce their speed. This allowed drivers to retain full control, with the ability to accelerate freely – despite speed being the leading cause accidents.

However, from July onwards, individuals purchasing new cars in the European Union will experience a shift, as vehicles will come equipped with a mandatory “co-driver” of sorts: the “Intelligent Speed Assistance” (ISA) system.

This system will continuously monitor the driver’s speed in relation to posted speed limits, utilising a combination of GPS technology and cameras capable of recognising road signs. Upon exceeding the speed limit, the driver will receive an audible beep or warning light, alerting them to their infraction, whether they are driving in urban areas, on rural roads, or on the motorway.

“It can be incredibly annoying”

In addition to issuing warnings, the ISA system can take further action if the driver disregards the alerts. This may involve reducing the vehicle’s power or increasing the resistance of the accelerator pedal, effectively forcing the vehicle to decelerate.

However, according to AutoPlus, drivers can override the system by pressing harder on the accelerator pedal, or simply deactivate it each time they start the car, similar to features like start-stop technology.

AutoPlus also notes that the implementation of ISA may vary among manufacturers. While some may incorporate features like increased resistance on the accelerator pedal, others may not.

Starting from July 2024, what was once an optional feature on well-equipped models will become mandatory on all new European cars. However, constant monitoring by the system could potentially increase stress for motorists. Gérard Tertoolen, a traffic psychologist, explained on 7sur7, “It only takes a brief moment of inattention to slightly exceed the speed limit. When you’re reminded of this quite insistently, with an audible signal, it can be incredibly annoying indeed.”

Concerns also arise regarding the legal implications of the ISA system. In the event of an accident, will drivers still be able to plead good faith if the system had warned them about excessive speed?

The European Union emphasises that the primary goal of this system is to align with the “Vision Zero” plan, aiming to eliminate road fatalities in Europe by 2050. Estimates suggest that the introduction of ISA could potentially reduce road fatalities by 20% within the EU.

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