News earlier this month that our friends in Brussels are considering the implementation of an Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) scheme has created plenty of debate at Tiger.co.uk HQ.
Under the outline proposals from the European Commission's Mobility and Transport Department, cars could be fitted with cameras or satellite reception technology that provide an automated warning to the car if it is travelling above any given speed limit. There are then three ways in which this information could be used:
- The motorist is simply notified by an alarm, giving them the opportunity to reduce their speed. This would be similar to the kind of alert issued by many sat-nav devices.
- Additional technology could be used that automatically applies the cars brakes in order to limit its speed. However, the driver would be able to over-ride this by disabling the braking device.
- A mandatory speed limiter that cannot be disabled by the driver under any circumstances.
The technology here isn't new - it's currently used by many bus and HGV vehicles.
The key driver here - excuse the pun - is a desire to reduce road casualties. About 30,000 people die in EU road accidents each year and a further 1.5 million are injured. Experts estimate that the death toll could be reduced by 20% as a result of this speed limitation initiative.
The current EU consultation will be crystallised later this year with the publication of proposals later this year.
Reaction to the proposals in the UK (and in our office!) has been broadly negative.
The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has apparently rejected the proposals out of hand, citing the UK's already strong road safety record when compared to our European cousins: The UK had around 1,750 road deaths last year (down from 1,900 a year earlier) compared to over 3,600 in Germany and France. And the AA claimed that the new technology could actually create more dangerous roads if it did not allow drivers to accelerate away from a potential accident.
However the AA said it would be supportive of a system that generated audible alerts when speed limits are exceeded. By and large, that was also the view here at Tiger HQ.
What do you think?