EU Speed limiters to improve safety – but at what cost?

Date: 19th Wednesday, June, 2019

2022 will see the introduction of mandatory speed limiters in all new cars.  This EU initiative, which will be adopted by the UK irrespective of the Brexit outcome, will, according to research, reduce traffic accidents by 30% which equates to a staggering 25,000 lives saved over 15 years.  The in-vehicle technology will be monitored by a combination of GPS and traffic sign recognition cameras to control the speed of the vehicle.  Whilst the driver can override this, notification alarms are triggered after several seconds if the speed is not reduced.  It is understood that speed limiters will be introduced along with a range of other tracking and automation systems including driver fatigue detection, automated braking, data loggers and cameras.

Ultimately, vehicle activity will be visible and monitored 24/7 across the UK.  This data will no doubt be useful for many non-driving activities including police surveillance, marketing, behavioural and population analysis to name but a few.  Some might object to the big-brother connotations of this state-initiated requirement as it impinges on personal freedom.  The safety argument, if the projected figures are to be accepted, is a difficult one to oppose, however, it does come at a sacrifice.   Is this the thin end of the wedge?  Having the capability to capture and analyse an individual’s whereabouts and activities, real-time, is incredibly powerful and could, in the wrong hands, be a method of control.  Couple in-vehicle monitoring with other monitoring technology such as mobile device location services and online activity data capture and there is nowhere to hide!

Many will agree that the safety outcomes of the speed limiters are worth an individual’s loss of anonymity.  After all, if one has nothing to hide, why be concerned?  Others may resent the notion of being monitored every time the ignition key is turned.  The fact is, whether you like the idea or not, it will be a reality for all road users in the not so distant future.  For drivers in the UK that are spending an increasing amount of time sitting in traffic jams due to congestion and roadworks, there may be other things on their mind!

  Back to blog...