Imagine the scenario. You are driving on a single-carriageway (two-way) road. So, in the UK, the speed limit is 60 mph, if a lower limit isn’t posted. You are behind a vehicle doing 50 mph when you see an opportunity to overtake.
You accelerate up to 60 mph and you pull out to overtake. With horror, you realise you have misjudged the speed of he oncoming traffic. In desperation you press hard on the accelerator, but nothing happens as the oncoming vehicles get closer, and closer….
That horrifying scenario could become reality, thanks to some big-brother thinking in the EU.
It’s reported that the EC’s mobility and transport department want to roll out technology called Intelligent Speed Authority (ISA). It would limit a vehicle’s speed to the speed limit on the section of road it was driving on. The plan is to require it to be fitted to new and existing vehicles.
The aim is to cut the death toll on EU country’s roads by a third by 2020.
A laudable aim indeed. But, let’s not forget that Government figures published by the Department for Transport show that, in 2005, exceeding the speed limit was the cause of only 5% of road accidents.
So at the very least, as road safety efforts go, this one is poorly targeted. It is clearly going to be more beneficial to target some of the factors that cause the other 95% of accidents.
Let’s not forget we have some of the safest roads in the world on this island. That is not being complacent – any death or injury is a death or injury too many.
But, before we go trying any untested technology (because, whatever tests may have been undertaken in controlled conditions, this has not been tested in real-life on the roads here, so it is untested) we have to be pretty sure it is not going to make things worse.
We also worry about anything that takes skill and judgment away from driving and makes it a more mechanical task.
A speed limiter would probably prevent us from being able to overtake that car in front that’s doing 50 mph, because we might overstep 60 mph in the process of passing.
As a result we would be left sitting, fuming and frustrated, in a line of cars travelling at 50 mph.
And we all know that “frustration causes accidents”…