Speed limiters will be required on all cars in the UK from 2022

Speed limiters will be required on all cars in the UK from 2022

20 July 2021 | Kate Kozlowska | 6 min read

The European Commission has mandated that every new car must have speed limiters and dataloggers from 2022. This comes with the EU General Safety Regulation. The new 2019/2044 regulation also requires all new cars to be fitted with an Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) by July 2024. While the UK is no longer in the EU, it will still comply with the new regulation. The plan should keep cars from going too fast and ensure better road safety for everyone.

Speed limiter will be a legal requirement for all new cars from 6th July 2022

The new systems will be mandatory for all new models given 'type approval'. All models in the market before that date will have to be updated by 7th July 2024. With the recent confirmation of the UK's adoption of the technology came interesting news from the Department for Transport. Stating that it expects limiters "to give drivers feedback when the speed limit is exceeded rather than limiting the speed" with a reduction in engine power as previously understood.

There is already movement among car manufacturers to increase road safety. Some are now offering factory-fitted ISA devices in some of their vehicles. First, Volvo set a 112 mph limit on their cars. Now, the manufacturers using ISA devices also include Citroen, Ford, Honda, Jaguar and Peugeot. In addition, Renault Group announced that all Renault and Citroen and Dacia cars coming out will have an 'automatic speed limit adjuster' and a 112mph cap as standard.

What's not always obvious. Speed limiters are a step forward towards self-driving cars in the UK.

What exactly is a speed limiter?

Speed limiters are special safety devices that prevent you from exceeding the speed you set for yourself in your car. This is different from cruise control, which maintains a constant speed and eliminates the use of the accelerator. Instead, speed limiters allow you to accelerate and decelerate as if there were no restrictions at all, so long as you don't exceed the set speed limit.

How does the speed limiter work?

There are two types of speed limiters: adjustable and intelligent.

Adjustable speed limiters can be adjusted depending on the driver's preference. Still, they're not as good at knowing the driver's habits and patterns and need to be changed manually when the speed limit changes.

Intelligent Speed Assistants (ISA) are smarter, and that's for a very good reason. They use GPS data and traffic recognition cameras to determine the speed limit of the road you are driving on. Then, the engine power of your car is matched to the speed. Thus, you never exceed the speed limit so that you always comply with the law.

If you want to go faster than the limit, you can override the system by pressing hard on the accelerator. However, the speed limiter will display a visual warning and send series of warning sounds every few seconds until you go back to driving within the limit. The system will reactivate every time you start the engine.

Can you remove the speed limiter from your car?

Currently, the law permits you to disengage your speed limiter. Drivers who want to have the thrill of higher top speeds or better fuel economy may look at modifying their cars by getting the speed limiter removed. Still, if you try to go over your car's top speed, it can be dangerous and illegal if you exceed the legal UK speed limits.

Why are the speed limiters becoming mandatory?

The push for speed limiters is down to the reduction in traffic collisions and lives lost.

In the UK, vehicles can only drive up to 70 mph on motorways and dual-carriageways, 60 mph on single carriageways, and 30 mph in built-up areas. Most cars have their top speed well over 70mph, which enables the drivers to go over the UK legal speed limits. According to the Government report, 1,472 deaths and 22,014 severe injuries were caused by road accidents in 2020. 

By introducing this new technology and other measures in the legislation, the European Transport Safety Council predicts it can reduce collisions by 30% and prevent 25,000 deaths in 15 years. On top of that, the new law should also improve a vehicle's fuel efficiency and reduce its CO2 emissions.

What other road safety measures does the legalisation entail?

Also required by the new EU regulations are autonomous emergency braking, black boxes (data loggers), emergency stop signals, driver fatigue detection systems, lane-keep assistance, reversing sensors and cameras to ensure that you're always safe. Finally, legalisation brings one significant point. Every car will be equipped with a built-in breathalyser, which will prevent you from driving if you fail a test.

Several of these safety systems are already available as standard on cars sold in the UK. An autonomous emergency braking system is a perfect example. Euro NCAP safety crash tests require it to score a perfect five stars.


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