European Commission Plans to Mandate 70 MPH Speed Limiters in EU. UK Government Calls It "Big Brother"

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
european commission plans to mandate 70 mph speed limiters in eu uk government calls

While Americans have an image of Europe as the place of autobahns with unlimited speeds, if a new proposal by the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Department is approved, all cars on the continent could be fitted with devices that limit top speed to 70 miles per hour. Cars would possibly be equipped with cameras that would read speed limit signs on roads and apply the brakes if the legal limit is exceeded. The goal is to reduce the 30,000 annual traffic deaths in Europe by a third. The regulations would not just apply to new cars sold in Europe. Used cars would have to be retrofitted.

The British government told the Daily Mail that it was opposed to the proposed regulations. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is described as having “erupted” at the news and said the move would violate motorists’ freedom. A source within the government said concerning McLoughlin’s instructions to the UK’s representatives in Brussels, “This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people’s backs up about Brussels. The Commission wanted his views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.”

The proposed regulation goes by the acronym ISA, for Intelligent Speed Adaptation and it could be implemented using GPS data or the above mentioned cameras. Two less extreme options to automatically slowing the car would be posting a dashboard warning to the driver, and allowing the driver to disable automatic speed limiting. An EU spokesman said, “There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses. Taking account of the results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things.”

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  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Sep 03, 2013

    It appears that this story was "sexed up" a bit, perhaps to make a political point. But that point, it seems to me, is still worth making: what is the utility of implementing some EU-wide automatic speed enforcing mechanism in European motor vehicles? Is this really a good use of someones' tax dollars? Don't these people have something better to do with their time? If not, maybe they're not needed. And, of course, the old shibboleth: confusing correlation with causation. That is, how many of these fatal accidents are actually caused by speeding as opposed to various kinds of driver misbehavior/incompetence/impairment? And of these that are caused by nothing more than speeding, by how much is the perpetrator exceeding the posted limit. I can certainly the possibility of a possibly fatal accident, when a driver going the, say, 60 mph limit pulls into the left lane to pass a slow-moving truck and then gets rear-ended by a car going 100. Obviously, the driver of the car that was rear ended could not see, or did not expect, the car behind him to be closing him at a relative speed of 40 mph. I'm just not sure that kind of thing happens very often.

  • Beefmalone Beefmalone on Sep 04, 2013

    If THE FREAKIN' UK thinks something is an invasion of privacy and personal freedom then you've gotta be talking something one step away from Hitler and Stalin wrapped up in a ball with an Obama ribbon...which pretty much sums up the idea of government speed limiters.

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