If you’re a driver – particularly one thinking of buying a new car – you might be interested to learn about a law change that is coming into effect today, 6 July, across the Channel and beyond.
The law change aims to make newer cars safer and encourage the people who drive them to stay within the speed limit as much as possible.
So, as of 6 July all new cars sold in the European Union will have to be installed with a piece of technology that can detect when a driver is speeding and automatically reduce the speed of the vehicle.
It’s called Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) and even cars that are already in circulation will have to have one fitted by 7 July 2024.
Of course, you might be asking yourself ‘why on earth does this rule change affect British drivers if the UK left the European Union?’
Well, while the UK is out – for better or worse – the government has continued to stick to EU rules broadly in order to make the import and export of vehicles easier.
They’re expected to follow suit with this too, although there has been no confirmation on that front, and some have expressed their doubts about the new technology.
Technology to limit the speed of cars is nothing new or revolutionary, but the intelligent speed limiter takes the control out of the driver’s hands and reduces the speed of the vehicle automatically when it detects that the driver is over the limit through GPS data and camera recognition.
Drivers can still override the system by taking manual control.
Those in support of the law change say that they want to reduce the potential for incidents caused by people who are accidentally speeding, as well as reducing traffic by regulating speed.
Still, some are concerned that it might cause drivers to become complacent and lose concentration, making them less aware of what is happening on the road around them.
There are also questions to be answered as to whether the system is accurate enough, and whether it can react to real-time changes such as temporary speed limits.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said no definitive decision has been taken on the rule changes yet.
They said: “The UK’s departure from the EU provides us with the platform to capitalise on our regulatory freedoms and make decisions that are right for Great Britain and benefit road safety.
“We’re currently assessing the vehicle safety technologies included in the EU's General Safety Regulation and a decision will be taken in due course as to whether to mandate any of those in Great Britain.”