Car News

All cars sold in Europe from 2022 to have active speed limiters and more

The European Union has announced legislation that will require all new cars sold in Europe from 2022 to be fitted with automatic speed limiters, data loggers, breathalysers and more.

According to legislation to be rubber stamped by the European Union in September, which has already been approved by the European Commission, all new models sold in Europe from 2022, and updated vehicles from 2024, will be required to have autonomous speed limiters and more as standard. Other elements to be required are camera-based fatigue detection and even an alcohol interlock fitted as well as data loggers.

This sounds heavy but the news came just a couple of days after Volvo announced earlier this week that it would speed limit all of its vehicles from 2021 to 180km/h “in order to send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding”.

Volvo went further, saying it would install cameras and other sensors in its vehicles to monitor driver fatigue and intoxication. “Volvo Cars believes intoxication and distraction should be addressed by installing in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident involving serious injury or death,” it said in a statement. Cameras will be added to Volvo vehicles from 2020.

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Let’s explore the headline grabber here and that is the mandatory fitment of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems which would look at the speed limit signs and adjust the maximum speed the vehicle can travel at. The intention is to make it impossible for a driver to exceed the speed limit.

But what if you need to…well, the EU wants the system to be able to be temporarily overridden. And here’s the example it uses: “Example: a driver is carrying out an overtaking manoeuvre to pass a lorry on a motorway at the same time as a decrease in the speed limit is encountered. In this case, the driver could temporarily override the lower speed limit and complete the manoeuvre at a higher speed by depressing the accelerator down hard to signal to the system that the limiter should be temporarily disabled.  If the driver continues to drive above the speed limit for several seconds, the system should sound a warning for a few seconds and display a visual warning until the vehicle is operating at or below the speed limit again. Once the vehicle is operating at or below the speed limit, the override state should be cancelled and normal functionality should resume.”

To “aid public acceptance” of this system, the EU is suggesting it should be able to be switched off but only until the vehicle is restarted.

So, what happens if you ignore the system once it’s detected a lower speed limit? Will it just jam on the brakes? No. Rather it’ll beep, beep, beep, beep, beep at the driver and then kill engine power to slow the car to meet the speed limit.

Now, before you spit your coffee all over your keyboard, stop for a moment, because plenty of car makers already include this system in some of their vehicles. For instance, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Jaguar, Jeep, Range Rover, Renault, Honda, Volvo, and Opel already have a speed limiting function built into some models.

According to the European Commission this sort of speed limiting functionality would reduce road deaths by 20% in Europe and reduce collisions by 30%.

But wait, there’s more. See, this isn’t just a Europe thing. In 2010, NSW trialled ISA in 100 vehicles in the Illawarra region. According to the research, led by the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research, mandatory fitment of ISA in Australian vehicles would reduce the number of fatal collisions by 19% each year Australia-wide which equals 200 lives saved.

Stay tuned for our article on testing the Intelligent Speed Assist in the new Ford Focus.


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.