/ Motoring

UK to adopt speed limiting tech: do you support it?

The Department for Transport has today said that speed limiting tech, which will become mandatory for all vehicles sold in Europe from 2022, will apply to the UK. Do you support it?

New rules have been provisionally agreed by the EU that will see the introduction of GPS/Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology that can send the local speed limit to a car’s dashboard to help enforce speed limits. ISA uses speed sign-recognition video cameras to do this.

From 2022, this will apply to the UK. And yes, that’s despite Brexit.

It’s worth noting that this won’t be an enforcement; the driver will be able to override the system by pressing the accelerator. Think of it more as a supportive guide – manoeuvres such as overtaking shouldn’t be affected.

Been hit with an undeserved speeding ticket? Here’s what to do

Are speed limiters a good idea?

Motoring rules, regulation and etiquette always generate a lot of discussion here on Which? Conversation, and it’s no different at Which? HQ itself, so I asked the rest of our Convo team for their views. Here are their takes:

“Have you ever driven on a motorway at 86mph in a Smart car? This is the speed my car was limited to and, frankly, I would never have wanted to go any faster. In fact, I don’t think I needed to go any faster.

332 people died on UK roads in 2017 because of someone either breaking the speed limit of being judged to be driving too fast for the conditions. Is getting somewhere a tiny bit faster really worth it?

It can be so easy to break the speed limit on the motorway.  I had a five-year break from driving recently. When I got back behind the wheel I had got over the ‘need to speed’. But that’s the thing – unless you are an emergency service you don’t need to speed. You just want to”

“I welcome safer roads and I’m keen to see ways in which technology will help us get there. I do not, however, welcome systems that might confuse the driver or limit their ability to make choices to navigate the road ahead.

I have an older car where on occasion (and sometimes by accident) I make use of the speed limiter. This has enabled me to reduce the risk of fines from temporary roadworks and average speed checks, but has done nothing to reduce the danger from the traffic around me (many of whom aren’t using limiters).

Many people treat driving as a right – a casual task that requires no thought – and their driving certainly reflects this. Would it really do any good to introduce another system that the driver doesn’t have to give their full attention to?

Driving is a huge responsibility – you, as a human, bear responsibility for all of the life around you. I think if we truly want safer roads, the solution is holding the people responsible to account, and not looking to the tech to solve this for us.

Or, you know, just more frequent and more reliable public transport at an affordable cost. Were this available, I’d happily recycle the car”

So now you have Jon and Abby’s views, what are yours? Do you support the introduction of speed limiting technology? Do you think this is the answer for safer roads?

Let us know your thoughts on the changes and we’ll feature your comments alongside Jon and Abby’s.

GMann says:
30 March 2019

May l be bold as to suggest a few reasons for so many drivers inot ‘respecting’ any speed limits..(1) Not planning of journeys resulting in a rush to get to wherever it is they are going. (2) Modern cars are too comfortable, with drivers loosing touch with the road and any sensation of speed. (3) Too much unrelated driving technology on board, such as hands free and stereo sytems etc. These all distract the drivers concentration.

Dave says:
30 March 2019

Detecting the speed limit from road signs simply doesn’t work. I know of several places near schools which have lower speed limits “when lights flash”, but an on-board camera will not recognise this and reduce the speed unneccessary.

I have been driving vehicles since 1960, from scooters up to 38 ton articulated goods vehicles. In all that time I cannot ever recall a situation when I needed to accellerate beyond the prevailing limit in order to ‘get out of trouble’. In the event of a dangerous situation arising, I have always dealt with it by reducing speed to allow everyone time to adjust. I use my speed limiter device on the car every day I use the car and would feel very uncomfortable without one. The bigger problem about speeding is the advent of short stroke internal combustion engines, which tend to rev very easily, more so than older long stoke engines. The next problem for many will be the advent of battery/electric cars. These engines will accellerate very easily and may well be more difficult to comply with speed limits. I have been using cars with hybrid technology for the past 10 years, which I really like, I would be very reluctant to go back to the old fashioned gearbox technology.

ToThePoint says:
30 March 2019

Nanny state, might as well get a train or replace personal vehicles with trams.
If drivers aren’t fit to drive, then remove them.
Making up for driver issues is avoiding the problem and not tackling the problem only a symptom.
Would be better making cars position themselves properly on roads, at junctions, roundabouts, with correct use of indicators, fog lights etc.
How about an automated fine system for middle lane hogs, inappropriate fog light and indicator use? 1% of income per pop should help focus people attention? And for those using chauffeurs, it should be split between the driver and the passenger.

Richard says:
30 March 2019

Truly a terrible decision. Cars aren’t reliable and it’s yet another item which will be hugely expensive to repair when it goes wrong.

I wonder whether the reliability of these systems will be good enough. And will Big Brother know where I am at all times?

Mcj says:
30 March 2019

I am all for safer and sensible driving but I think this is another means of watching us. it seems our gadgets are all keeping a tag on us now re smart idea and Tvs can too, if we have no intention of doing wrong or acting idiots then we should be given the choice if to have this fitting in the car. By all means start with the idiots who are always causing trouble, fit them first. make it compulsory for all offenders to have it in their car.

An excellent idea and long overdue. There is a direct correlation between speed and the severity of an accident.

Nonsense! The vehicle in which the elderly man died yesterday on the MI was going zero m.p.h (thought to have broken down). If he had been going at 70 m.p.h. the accident wouldn’t have happened.

Accidents are caused by Inattention, Incompetence, Inexperience and Incaution. Speeding alone rarely causes accidents. However, driving at a speed that is too high for the road conditions may well be a contributory cause to an accident but rarely the sole cause. I sometimes use my cruise control set at the 30 mph or 40 mph limit in towns and quite often find that speed to be a little too high for the traffic conditions I encounter as a result of my judgement honed by 55 years of driving experience on both two and four wheels. It worries me that if external speed controls are applied, less experienced drivers will assume that they are perfectly safe drivers because they are not exceeding the speed limit. Furthermore, taking away from the driver the need to ensure that they keep within the statutory speed limit will introduce a false feeling of safety and reduce their feeling of needing to concentrate on their driving, causing even further inattention – perhaps allowing them more opportunities to chat and text on their phones, surf the internet etc? I doubt very much that there will be a significant increase in road safety as a direct result of speed limiters but because cars (in particular) are becoming ever safer, what with automatic breaking, improved crash protection, lane monitoring, collision avoidance, etc I am sure the safety junkies will claim that all the accident and injury reductions are due to speed limiters. Personally I doubt very much that I shall buy a car fitted with a speed limiter. I have probably 10 years left at the most during which I shall be fully competent to drive and my next car should last me out, avoiding the need to buy a speed limited one – thank goodness! What a shame the authorities do not apply themselves with equal vigour to detecting and prosecuting those who use hand held phones to yak, text and surf the net while driving! Now that WOULD bring about worthwhile gains in road safety! (And the penalty for the use of a hand held phone whilst driving should be a 6 months ban, no ifs or buts!)

I totally disagree. There will always be individuals that break the speed limits and cause accidents sometimes life threatening by their selfishness and stupidity but there are laws in place to deal with that.
This is about personal choice, we’re not children but hopefully free thinking individuals with a choice. The bottom line is where will this end?… Yet more interference from the establishment on how to live your life. This comes from a government that can’t even implement Brexit without turning it into a circus.. Cars are expensive and complex enough so leave things as they are!..

Michael Williamson says:
30 March 2019

It is absolutely vital that these systems can be over-ridden in an emergency. There are occasions, especially when overtaking, when it is necessary to exceed the speed limit to get out of a dangerous situation.

Robin Turner says:
30 March 2019

I have a new car (Volvo XC40) that has all these features. I don’t use the speed limiter by choice, my preference being adaptive cruise control. I set the maximum speed at or below the speed limit, especially in town on roads where there is a tendency to speed. My one concern is that speed limits projected onto my dashboard are not always correct, there is a road near me where the 30mph speed limit is displayed as 60mph. It’s been that way for at least 2 years.

J G KIRBY says:
30 March 2019

seems mainly a drive for even greater bureaucracy – and why GPS based and not Galileo?

No problem with this at all. As a doctor in a trauma centre I try to forget the deaths and life-destroying injuries I have seen over my career. First point: If you speed, you are still only a few minutes earlier than if you had obeyed the speed limit. And your car puts out a lot more emissions. Second point: Is our lack of planning (setting off late) a good enough reason to put someone else at risk? Third point: Humans are rather wonderful. Think of a young person you know who has learned to walk, talk, play, read and write, passed exams, learnt to love and become happy. Now picture that leaking out over the floor of my emergency room as a nurse desperately tries to hold their head together. Worth it? Speeding? Really?
If this measure stops just one family having to go through that day in their lives, it will have been worth it.

Excellent idea.
Cars these days are over-powered and many (most?) seem to regard speed limits as a minimum rather than a maximum. At best, maximum plus 20% is common.
And why do so many people have to be in such a hurry? Do they get a rush, haring from one red light to the next, one jam to the next? Great for the brake manufacturers.
Tailgating is common (people addicted to inhaling exhaust fumes?) and as for the 2 second gap on motorways, say no more! And, of course, the only lane for the majority to use is the outside one.
So, any talk of this idea limiting drivers concentration is spurious as clearly it’s fundamentally lacking to begin with.
Similar naysayers were to the fore when seat belts were mooted, but now?
Perhaps these devices might actually make driving pleasurable again and at least reduce some of the idiotic driving you see these days.
Bet the speed camera lobby won’t be happy though.
And more enforcement instead? Who are you kidding?
Perhaps we should seek the advice of that excellent Transport Secretary (failing) Grayling!
You know you can trust our MPs to do what’s best for the country.

I recall the accident where the defence in court was ‘I was within the speed limit, so I cannot be to blame for driving too fast’. I am aware that even with simple cruise-control a slightly different driving style is required so that you don’t creep up too close to the car in front doing 1 m.p.h. less than you; nor stay stuck in the overtaking lane because you are going 1 m.p.h faster than the driver beside. This can happen all too easily when the car and the mind go into joint autopilot on long motorway hauls.

Whatever happened to the notion of road craft? Of driving within the conditions? The more the bureaucrats protect us from ourselves with all this ready-to-fail short-design-life technology, the more we pass the responsibility for our personal safety over to those bureaucrats. I’ve just bought a new car, so currently reading the owner’s manual which repeats time after time that you the driver are responsible, no matter what the umpteen gizmos say or do. Quite right too, even though tedious to keep on reading page after page.

David Wells says:
30 March 2019

Absolutely support this. I feel there is also a case for motorway speeds being raised to 80 but there’s only one thing worse than sticking to speed limits only to watch others flaunt them. What is worse? Being tailgate by people who want to bully you into pulling over to let them do 100 plus.

Flaunt them or flout them? I think you mean the latter, David.

In principal I think it is a good idea, though I regard it as a necessity to override the system when overtaking for example. Perhaps one should only be able to override the system for a 10-15 second burst, long enough to complete a manoeuvre. Speed limits are there for a purpose and lowering speeds would also contribute to decreasing the emission of noxious gases. I would, only slightly tongue in cheek, also like to see cars having a minimum speed limiter in some circumstances. How often does one see someone driving at 45-50 in the left, or even worse middle, lane of the motorway, causing tailbacks and much driver frustration. Anyone not happy to drive their car at 65-70 mph on the motorway should seriously consider noy using them!

Driving too fast for the prevailing conditions causes most accidents, particularly on motorways. You may well be in a 70mph section but if the conditions dictate that a safer speed is say 50mph (fog, snow or ice, heavy traffic) these devices will not slow you down unless you’re on a smart motorway. The same applies to urban or country roads, so I see these devices as almost useless in preventing ‘most’ accidents.

John says:
30 March 2019

I have a car with Road Sign Recognition. The cameras pick up speed limits from side roads, motorway slip roads,etc. and sometimes do not pick up signs at all! I hope the technology to be used is better or it will be chaos!

Kate B says:
30 March 2019

This is yet another unnecessary addition to our cars that will increase both the purchase and repair costs. Speed is rarely the only factor in a crash – drivers will be in the wrong lane, change lane without indication, be distracted by mobile phones or other in-car tech. None of that will be solved by speed restrictors. I have lane assist in my car that has attempted to steer me into the truck that was straddling the white line, put me into a pot hole, and redirect me to almost hit a pigeon. Thankfully I paid a lot of money to learn to drive so knew what I should be doing. It frequently tells me to “keep both hands on the steering wheel” when both hands are in place, or one of them was changing gear. It announces a ‘collision warning’ and applies my brakes when I am overtaking (and am nowhere near colliding with the car in front) making it a risky manoeuvre when the speed I am expecting suddenly isn’t there. Will this tech tell drivers dawdling along at 50mph in the middle lane to move over or put their foot down? Will it stop congestion lanes being used as crawler lanes? Will it be accurate for all roads or, like a satnav, often be unsure whether I’m on a 70mph motorway or the 40mph road that runs alongside. I don’t want to suddenly find I can only do 40mph when I’m merging on to a motorway in front of a very big truck!