Cars would include cameras that ‘read’ the limits displayed on road signs
- The technology would then automatically apply the car’s brakes
- Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is said to have ‘erupted’
- Has been asked by the EC for his views, but he has told his officials to block the moves
Drivers face having their cars fitted with devices that slam on the brakes if they go over the speed limit, under draconian new road safety measures being drawn up by officials in Brussels.
All new cars would have to include camera systems that ‘read’ the limits displayed on road signs and automatically apply the brakes.
And vehicles already on the road could even be sent back to garages to be fitted with the ‘Big Brother’ technology, meaning that no car in the UK would be allowed to travel faster than 70mph – the speed limit on motorways.
All new cars would have to include camera systems that ‘read’ the limits displayed on road signs and automatically apply the brakes
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is said to have ‘erupted’ when the proposals landed on his desk and has told his officials to block the moves.
He has been asked by the European Commission for his views ahead of the publication of formal proposals this autumn.
The EC’s Mobility and Transport Department hopes to roll out the ‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation’ technology (ISA) as part of a new road safety programme, which aims to slash the death toll from traffic accidents by a third by 2020.
Every year, more than 30,000 people die on the roads in EU countries and a shocking 1.5 million are injured, of whom 120,000 are left permanently disabled.
Mr McLoughlin has stressed to officials that the UK already has one of the best road safety records in Europe
Experts estimate that 6,000 of those deaths could be prevented if drivers obeyed speed limits.
But Mr McLoughlin has stressed to officials that the UK already has one of the best road safety records in Europe. The number of people killed on our roads fell last year from 1,901 to 1,754 – the lowest figure since records began in 1926. By comparison, 3,645 people died in France and 3,657 in Germany.
The ISA technology works in one of two ways – either through satellites, which communicate limits automatically to cars from databases, or by using cameras to read road signs.
It then deploys one of three controls to slow drivers: ‘advice’, in which the motorist is simply notified of the speed limit by an alarm, giving them the opportunity to slow down; ‘driver select’, which arrests the car’s speed but gives the driver the option of disabling the device; or ‘mandatory’, which would not let a driver breach the speed limit under any circumstances.
Mr McLoughlin was told by his officials that new vehicles will soon be designed with camera and satellite technology automatically incorporated, making it ‘cheap and easy’ to add speed-control systems.
Last night, a Government source said Mr McLouglin had instructed officials to block the moves because they were a ‘violation’ of British motorists’ freedom.
The source said: ‘This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people’s backs up about Brussels. We are about getting a better deal for Britain, not letting EU bureaucrats encroach further into people’s lives.
‘The Commission wanted his views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.’
No car in the UK would be allowed to travel faster than 70mph – the speed limit on motorways
A spokesman for the AA said at lower speeds the new technology could actually create dangers.
He said: ‘If you were overtaking a tractor and suddenly needed to accelerate to avoid a head-on collision, you would not be able to.’ But he said he would support a system of audible speed alerts.
A spokesman for the EC said: ‘It is part of the Commission’s job – because it has been mandated to do so by member states, including the UK – to look at, promote research into and consult stakeholders about new road-safety technology which might ultimately save lives. This is done in close co-operation with member states and the UK has generally supported such efforts.’
The spokesman added: ‘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.’
Source: Glen Owen Daily Mail