Various vehicle safety measures have been given the green light by European policymakers, paving the way for speed limiters in cars by 2022.
The European Parliament, Council and Commission have approved the measures, which means such technology as lane assist, drowsiness detection, advanced emergency braking and intelligent speed assistance (ISA – or speed limiters) are expected to be mandatory – if formal approval is granted - in new vehicles in three years’ time.
EU commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. We can and must act to change this. With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced. Many of the new features already exist, in particular in high-end vehicles. Now we raise the safety level across the board, and pave the way for connected and automated mobility of the future."
The European General Safety Regulations have been welcomed by many road safety groups. In the UK, TRL says they are predicted to save up to 25,000 lives and prevent 140,000 serious injuries in the next two decades.
“ISA alerts and prevents the driver from accelerating above the speed limit,” TRL says in a statement. “This is an important feature to influence driver behaviour and reduce driving speed. When a vehicle is even marginally speeding it can make the difference between a collision that is avoidable and a serious or fatal collision. Preventing a vehicle from speeding will also increase the effectiveness of all other safety measures in the European General Safety Regulations.”
The Road Safety Foundation said: “We welcome these technologies with open arms.”
However, not everyone is so sure. UK motoring organisation, the AA, said the “best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot”.