Will Britain introduce EU speed limiters? What the DfT says about 2022 mandatory intelligent speed assist

A new European rule making it mandatory to fit speed limiting systems to new cars will not come into effect in Britain next week.

From 6 July, all new models introduced in the EU will have to have be fitted with intelligent speed assist (ISA) technology, which can limit a car’s top speed.

Britain was expected to adopt the same regulations but the Department for Transport has now confirmed that it will not be introducing the same rules.

Could EU speed limiters still be introduced in Britain?

The systems are still likely to appear on new cars sold in Britain as car makers try to simplify manufacturing processes.

Under the package of European measures known as the General Safety Regulation, all new cars submitted for vehicle type approval - which is required for them to go on sale - will have to be fitted with ISA, which uses GPS and camera data to match a vehicle’s top speed to local limits.

Previously, the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), which oversees type approval in Britain, said that it would adopt the EU regulation.

However, a Department for Transport spokesperson this week told National World: “The package of European measures known as the General Safety Regulation will not come into effect from July in Great Britain.

“No decision has yet been taken on which elements of the package will be implemented in Great Britain.”

What are the new European regulations?

The new regulations, which also cover driver alertness monitors, autonomous emergency braking and event data recorders, apply to any brand new model introduced after 6 July but manufacturers will also have to fit ISA to any existing model already on sale by 2024.

ISA uses a combination of GPS tracking and traffic sign recognition to monitor local speed limits and can automatically cap a vehicle’s top speed to match by limiting engine power. If a car is exceeding the limit it can give a visual or audio alert but the system can be overridden by the driver pressing firmly on the accelerator.

Under the European regulations, the system will default to on whenever the ignition is started but drivers will be able to deactivate it at any time.

Many new cars from major brands already feature ISA technology and several manufacturers told National World that any new models launched in Britain would come with the technology as standard even if that aspect of the regulation isn’t adopted.

Britain represents just a small part of the European car market and removing the systems for a single territory would add complication and expense which manufacturers are keen to avoid.

Previously, the head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Mike Hawes, warned that diverging from Europe on vehicle safety measures would be “bad for the industry”.

The European Transport Safety Council, which proposed making ISA mandatory claims that the speed is the primary factor in one third of all fatal collisions in Europe and the move could reduce collisions by 30% and European road deaths by 20%.