With many taxi drivers who operate in some of the UK's busiest cities complaining about severe traffic, speed limiters may seem like a pointless exercise, but the European Parliament has announced that it has provisionally approved the mandatory introduction of intelligent speed assistance (ISA) systems on new vehicle models from 2022.
According to the the EU, “ISA will provide a driver with feedback, based on maps and road sign observation, always when the speed limit is exceeded.”
ISA is one of several safety measures which the Parliament wants to see fitted as standard. Others include:
-Automated emergency braking
-Advanced driver distraction warning
-Emergency lane keeping
-Reversing detection system
-Event data (black box) recorders
Twenty five thousand people were killed on EU roads in 2017 and 135,000 injured. It is estimated ISA could reduce fatalities by as much as 20%.
Traffic in central London has slowed to an average speed of little more than 5 miles an hour, a report showed.
Speeds have come down in nine of ten cities in a major study that took place 18 months ago, with only Bradford showed an increase. Experts blame the slowdown on increased traffic, more cycle and bus lanes and expanded pedestrian zones.
Glasgow’s centre average speeds fell from 8.56mph to 6.82mph and in Manchester from 8.14mph to 6.57mph. Bradford’s traffic nudged up from 9.48mph to 10.08mph, according to the analysis by In-Car Cleverness.
The telematics firm examined data on nearly 400,000 journeys and found that speeds had also slowed in the areas up to five miles from the city centre in Birmingham, London and Manchester. However traffic in this zone was moving faster this year in Glasgow, Bradford, Leeds and Liverpool than it had in 2016.
Latest figures from the Department of Transport show traffic volumes have reached record levels.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“The package of new requirements for road vehicle technology that the EU is developing has a number of interesting aspects; it’s not just about Intelligent Speed Assistance.
“Specifically on ISA, it is worth remembering that speed limits are there for a reason – to make our roads safer. Would we really be discussing whether observing any other laws put in place to protect our safety should be a matter for individual discretion?
“However, the possible introduction of ISA raises at least two questions. First, there are many miles of road in this country where the speed limit is far higher than the safe speed for a particular stretch – the limit is a maximum, not a target. Second, until we reach the point of full automation we need drivers to be awake, alert and in full control of their vehicle – the more we take the driving task away from them, the greater the risk that their minds will drift onto other things.”