Beginning of the end for speed?

Riley Riley

In Europe and the UK road safety groups are calling for the introduction of mandatory speed limiting devices for cars.

Speeding, according to a new European Transport Safety Report, remains a significant factor in overall road safety performance.

Excessive and inappropriate speed is accountable for about one third of fatal collisions and is an aggravating factor in most collisions.

Road safety groups across Europe are urging ministers to ensure that Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems become mandatory on all new vehicles from 2022.

Estimates show that this single measure will eventually reduce the road toll by 20 per cent.

Figures released today by the European Transport Safety Council show:

  • On urban roads, where 37 per cent of all road deaths occur, between 35 and 75 per cent of vehicle speed observations were higher than the legal speed.
  • On rural non-motorway roads, where 55 per cent of all road deaths occur, between 9 and 63 per cent of vehicle speed observations were higher than the speed limit.
  • On motorways, where 8 per cent of all road deaths occur, between 23 and 59 per cent of observed vehicle speeds were higher than the speed limit.

The European Parliament will vote this Thursday on future mandatory in-vehicle safety technologies, amid concerns less effective ‘Speed Limit Information’ (SLI) system may be adopted to placate calls from car manufacturers.

In the UK Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is supporting the call.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “We know that while reducing speeding will require a combination of measures including higher levels of enforcement, improved infrastructure and credible speed limits, experts have singled out Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), as the single most effective in-vehicle safety measure for tackling the problem.

“That is why today we join other road safety groups to urge members of the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee to take the bold step of ensuring that ISA becomes a mandatory part of all new cars from 2022.

“Whatever Brexit arrangement is finally decided, we have the commitment from Prime Minister Theresa May that ‘UK and EU regulatory standards will remain substantially similar in the future’. So this matters every bit as much to a safer future on the roads of the UK as to any other country.”

Q & A:

What is ISA?

Intelligent Speed Assistance uses a speed sign-recognition video camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit and automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed.

Does ISA brake for drivers?

ISA systems do not automatically apply the brakes, but simply limit engine power, preventing the vehicle from accelerating past the current speed limit unless overridden by the driver.

Can I buy a car with ISA already?

Yes. Vehicles with this kind of ISA system factory fitted are already on sale – helped in part by Euro NCAP’s decision to reward extra points for vehicles that include ISA. The system is fitted as standard on the new Ford Focus for instance.

What is SLI?

Speed Limit Information simply displays the vehicle’s speed on the dashboard.

Who says it’s not as effective as ISA?

According to the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), SLI is not as effective as ISA. TRL says that there would be 1300 more deaths every year if every vehicle in Europe were fitted with SLI instead of ISA.

Who supports SLI?

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), on behalf of carmakers, supports SLI. It says ISA is not accurate enough and shows too many false warnings.

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