Speed Limiters Were Voted Into Law By The EU, But How Do They Work?


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New automobile technology seems to be popping up every day, and it results not just in bewilderment but skepticism. Automated vehicles will be on the roads sooner than we think, and other technologies are being introduced quite quickly. So quickly, in fact, that some are becoming law. The EU recently approved the new speed limiting technology that is a cousin of automation.

Some are praising the vote as a great way to save lives while others think that the EU is over-stepping boundaries. Some even argue that the technology isn’t ready to be mandated in Europe and may actually cause some accidents. But what is this technology? And what will it do? Taking a look at the specs of these speed limiters will help us determine how good or bad they will be for countries across Europe.

EU Ruling

The EU ruled that all new cars have to have the special speed limiting technology by 2022. Specifically what they are mandating is an Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) limiter. The legislation green-lighting the technology was approved by the European Commission, and it’s just one of several new safety measures expected to be approved by the European Parliament in September.

Calling for all cars to have an on/off switch for the ISA, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) acknowledged the risks of the technology. When the car is started the technology will automatically activate, but it can be overridden by pressing on the accelerator if it is needed to avoid danger. This is seen as an essential part of the mandate.

Additional safety measures include autonomous emergency braking, lane assist, driver fatigue detection, reverse cameras, and data loggers. They also have the capability to be fitted for in-car breathalyzers for those who have been convicted of driving under the influence.

How do Speed Limiters Work?

The way that ISA technology works is that cameras with traffic-sign recognition are installed to detect the appropriate speed limit for the road using GPS data. It uses the cameras to adjust the speed when necessary. This is the kind of technology that Tesla already has on the road.

Warnings to reduce speed when they are both breaking the law or going too fast for current traffic conditions. Alerts will be given at or below the speed limit, but the ISA system does not apply the brakes. They limit engine power and prevent the vehicle from accelerating. This can all be overridden by pushing hard on the accelerator, a setting that has been built to avoid danger.

Benefits & Limitations of Speed Limiters

The specialists at the site MoneyPug, which is used to find car insurance, some insurance companies argue that this could still cause accidents, or that the technology needs to be thoroughly tested before they are implemented into every single European car. The on and off switch will certainly help, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that people will have it off when they need to accelerate suddenly. Legislators and supporters of the technology say that the number of saved lives will be greater than the ones lost, estimating a reduction in traffic collisions by 30 percent and up to 25,000 lives in the first 15 years. Research done by the European Commission found that the speed limiters calm traffic, reduce insurance costs, and lead to higher fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.

How Soon?

Though they will be mandated in 2022, the technology is already available in some cars and more will be available in the coming months and years. One argument that is being made by people who think that the EU is moving too quickly with the technology is that it will take drivers a while to get used to the idea. Still they are thinking long term with it, hoping to avoid 140,000 serious injuries by 2038 and cut deaths on the road down to zero by 2050.

It may seem like a big step, but the speed limiters are set to be implemented by 2022. It remains to be seen whether the technology will cause any problems, but politicians and private companies alike are hailing the mandate as a revolutionary step towards making the roads safer.

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