Speed Limiters Explained

The somewhat controversial new plan to help reduce speeding will be coming into play very soon, so here's everything you need to know.

New technological software to help reduce speeding in the UK and across Europe will soon be introduced to new cars in 2022.

Speed limiters aim to reduce the number of deaths caused by speeding every year and experts believe they can reduce road collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%.

The maximum speed limit in the UK is 70mph, yet many cars can reach speeds in excess of 100mph. So it begs the question of why cars are given the capability to go at such high speeds when the law permits it.

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According to the European Transport Safety Council, there were an estimated 18,000 road deaths last year across Europe and one of the major contributions to that is speed.

This has led to the inception of speed-limiting software also known as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) which will come included with any new car bought in 2022.

The Intelligent Speed Assistance

The ISA system will be utilised by using video and GPS to detect speed limit signs on the road you're driving on, which is a fairly similar concept to what most sat-navs do already.

If the driver is going above the speed limit, the ISA will alert the driver and if no action is taken to reduce the speed to the correct limit, the ISA will step in and override the driver's acceleration to slow the vehicle down.

The system will not tamper or affect the braking but will reduce the power of the engine so you naturally start to ease the speed you are moving at if you fail to comply after several alerts.

It will also be able to detect cyclists and pedestrians, so to some extent, it can become autonomous in the way that it controls itself using its camera system.

Driver's responsibility

However, the ISA will not be solely responsible for keeping your speed in check as with anything, there may potentially be occasions when the GPS loses signal or the camera cannot detect road signs due to poor visibility.

“Speed signs can often be obscured or inaccurate, while GPS mapping can be out of date. Temporary limits and road works can confuse the system too.

“This could lead to speeding fines if the system isn’t picking up the limit correctly. And drivers will still be liable, whether they were relying on the system or not", said Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research.

The ETSC echoed Avery's comments, “ISA is a driver assistance technology: the driver, not the car, is responsible for obeying the current speed limit at all times.”

However, they did add that the technology used has a 'high level of accuracy' and will have the ability to detect temporary, digitally signed and overhead speed limits.


Car insurance

Due to the ETSC's prediction of reducing road collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%, you'd like to think that this could mean that driving insurance costs can be reduced. 

If correct, then there should be fewer people being involved in accidents, therefore fewer people claiming on their insurance, thus resulting in premiums being reduced due to less risk on the roads.

Of course, this is all speculation up to this point, we won't know for definite until the speed limiters are brought into existence but it's certainly something to think about if you're planning on getting a new car in the near future.

Can the ISA be overridden?

The speed limiter can be turned off and on via a switch. This means that you can control and disable the limiter manually.

However, it's possible that the option of an off switch will be scrapped, especially if people start abusing their power and keeping it off all the time.

Even with the ISA turned on, you should be able to manually override it, particularly in circumstances when you are overtaking someone on a road where there is a decrease in the speed limit.

You would still receive an alert, but you can override by pushing down harder on the acceleration until you have completed the manoeuvre. 


Benefits of the ISA

The number one benefit of course is the potential to save many more lives on our roads by limiting the number of times people are able to drive above the speed limit.

It's unconfirmed whether it could reduce insurance prices but that's a huge positive if so and it's likely that there would be a reduction in carbon emissions, which will help to make the UK greener than it currently is.

If the speed limiter does what it's expected to do and prevents people from speeding, then perhaps we will see fewer speeding tickets issued and maybe a reduction of speed cameras and speed humps on our roads.

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A lot of the benefits will rely on the drivers being compliant too and keeping the limiters switched on at all times.

The new software may keep drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists safer, making the roads a much better place to be than they are currently. 


Does a speed limiter use more fuel?

A speed limiter should help reduce fuel consumption because you are not driving over the speed limit. Driving faster than you should is one of the top three reasons your fuel is used up more quickly, so a speed limiter should help to reduce that problem.