Car speed ‘could be limited with special device' under new law

·3 min read
Man driving right-hand-drive car.
The government is expected to announce a consultation that will look at speed limiters. (Getty)

The speed of new cars could be limited with a special device under new measures to improve road safety, according to a report.

The government is expected to announce a consultation that will look at speed limiters which will automatically make drivers stay within the limit by reducing engine power or setting off alarms, the Telegraph reports.

Ministers are looking at intelligent speed assistance (ISA) technology as it’s one of 15 safety measures set to become mandatory in the European Union from July.

The measures could help save more than 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038, according to safety experts.

Watch: Initiative to ensure all new cars sold in EU will have speed limiters by 2022

But not everyone agrees with the speed limiting devices, with Tory MP Craig Mackinlay likening it to “Big Brother”.

Mackinlay, the Conservative chairman of the Fair Fuel UK Motorists and Hauliers all-party parliamentary group, told the Telegraph: "This will completely destroy the luxury car market, and I think there are so many aspects of the anti-driver campaign now that are coming to the fore.’

He added: "This is more Big Brother in your cockpit. We’ll see more of this if we go up the route of road pricing.

"I don’t think people have thought of the freedom aspects of all of this. It just sounds very conservative."

Greg Smith, a Conservative member of the Commons transport select committee, added the new devices would be ‘unnecessary nannying’.

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ISA uses road sign recognition cameras in the car and GPS to discourage or prevent speeding.

The system assesses the speed limit and then notifies the driver in different ways, including via an alarm, reducing engine power, or an accelerator pedal push back.

Ford and Jaguar are among carmakers which have started including the devices in their cars.

The UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency has previously said the UK would align with EU rules on vehicle standards after Brexit, saying it aimed to “pursue mutual recognition of UK and EU type-approval certification”.

The Department for Transport confirmed no decisions on car safety regulations have been made.

A spokesman said: ‘The UK’s departure from the EU provides us with the platform to capitalise on our regulatory freedoms.

‘We’re currently considering the vehicle safety provisions included in the EU’s General Safety Regulation and will implement requirements that are appropriate for Great Britain and improve road safety.’

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Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet arriving for a meeting being held at 10 Downing Street, central London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay likened the speed limiters to “Big Brother”. (Getty Images)

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A package of 15 measures becomes mandatory in the European Union and Northern Ireland from July but will not automatically apply in Britain due to Brexit.

The changes include advanced emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists, intelligent speed assistance and systems to help drivers reverse safely.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts), which advises the government, warned that failing to introduce the 15 measures for new vehicles across the UK will “put the safety of UK road users at risk”.

The number of people killed on Britain’s roads each year was stable between 2010 and 2019, following three decades of decline.

A fall in fatalities in 2020 was attributed to coronavirus lockdowns.