The European Union wants to introduce limiters on all cars to prevent drivers going any faster than 70mph as part of a plan to cut road deaths by a third.
The proposal, drawn up by the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Department, would see new cars fitted with with either specialised global positioning system (GPS) units that can detect your speed or cameras that can read road speed limit signs. Onboard systems would then either apply the brakes to slow you down or issue an audible warning instructing you to do so.
Data recorded by the car during any breach of the speed limit could be passed on to insurance companies, who could use it to invalidate a person’s premium.
“There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses,” a spokesman for the European Commission confirmed.
Fortunately or unfortunately for the UK, depending on your point of view, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is said to be against the move because he felt it “violated” the freedom of drivers.
“This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people’s backs up about Brussels,” a government source told the Mail on Sunday. “To be forced to have automatic controls in your car amounts to Big Brother nannying by EU bureaucrats.”
One of the reported reasons for rejecting such a move for the UK stems from having safer roads than our European counterparts ─ and by some margin. 1,754 people died on UK roads in 2012, compared with 3,567 in Germany.
Critics argue the time and money spent on such systems could be better spent elsewhere and that such systems may do more harm than good.
“It could take away people’s ability to get themselves out of trouble with a quick burst of speed, such as in overtaking situations where the capacity to accelerate can avoid a head-on collision,” the AA commented.
Research by the Institute for Advanced Motorists revealed deaths by excessive speed accounted for 13.9 per cent of all fatal accidents between 2005 and 2009, while “driver error or reaction” accounted for more than 65 per cent. Excessive speed, it seems, plays a role in road deaths but it’s by no means the biggest killer.
Of course, hitting someone at 40mph is obviously going to do more damage than at 30mph, but let’s face it: a top speed limit will not stop people from pulling out of junctions blindly, tailgating you for miles of the M1 or drink-driving. Ultimately, a limiter won’t teach an unsafe driver to become a safe one.
And let’s be honest, it would make the next Fast and Furious film virtually unwatchable.
Do motorists have a God given right to speed? Or do we need the government to intervene? Let us know below.