Skip navigation
19 Mar 2019
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Speed limiters to be fitted on all new cars by 2022


speed limiters

European Parliament rules to curb speed on all new vehicles.

According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), there are 26,000 road deaths in Europe every year, with speed being one of the main contributing factors to this figure. 

And it’s long been a source of confusion from motorists as to why cars are allowed to drive so fast when our top speed limit is 70 mph.

Now, thanks to campaigning by the ETSC, new software known as the Intelligent Speed Assistance system (ISA) will be mandatory for all new cars within three years. 

The ISA will alert a driver if they’re going over the speed limit, and if the driver doesn’t slow down the car will intervene.

What is Intelligent Speed Assistance? 

The Intelligent Speed Assistance system uses either a video system that detects speed signs or a GPS system that uses speed data to alert drivers of the speed limit. If the driver doesn’t reduce their speed, then the car reduces it for them. 

The system doesn’t affect the car’s braking system though. After a series of alerts, if the driver doesn’t apply the brakes, the vehicle reduces power to the engine. The car will then naturally slow down to the new speed limit.

Alongside the introduction of ISA software, the automatic detection of pedestrians and cyclists was also approved. 

Read more: Traffic cameras - what they do and how to spot them

What are the benefits of ISA? 

Besides the life-saving potential of the technology, it’s thought that insurance premiums will lower, as well as higher fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. 

The introduction of ISA could also mean the end of speeding tickets, a feature that manufacturer Ford has capitalised on when promoting this technology in their vehicles. 

The automatic detection software may encourage more people to walk or cycle, as the new technology should increase the safety of vulnerable road users. This is according to a study by the European commission.

Compare car insurance quotes

Get a quote


Is there a way to override the system?

You can override the system in certain circumstances. An example of this would be if you’re overtaking on a road where there’s a decrease in speed limit. 

After alerting you, the car will automatically start to slow down. By pushing down hard on the accelerator, you can override the system in order to complete the manoeuvre safely

If you stay above the speed limit the system will sound a warning, then display a visual alert until the proper speed limit is resumed. 

The ETSC has also developed an on/off switch for the system. The default setting for the system is on, but it can be switched off.  The system will then remain off until the vehicle is restarted.

Read more: Motorway driving: How to stay safe 

speed limiters

Which cars have ISA installed already?

Many Ford models already use the ISA system, as do Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot/Citroen and Renault. 

Volvo is following suit this year – they’ll be the first manufacturer to roll out the system across all of their models. The company will cap all new cars at 112 mph.

Volvo is also developing ‘smart speed controls’ that will detect when a car is driving close to a vulnerable site, such as a school or hospital.

Read more: Autonomous cars: Why we should stop and think before we're sold the self-driving dream 

Will the UK adopt speed limiters after Brexit?

Even though the UK is intending to leave the EU, The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) intends to continue with EU regulations. This means it’s likely that speed limiting rules will be enforced in the UK too.

Also it’s unlikely that EU-based vehicle manufacturers will make models with different specifications just to please the UK market.  

How do drivers feel about the ISA?

Many drivers will be confused about why Volvo is choosing to limit the speed to 112 mph, instead of the national speed limit for UK roads. The reason for this is that Volvo sells vehicles to countries with high speed limits.

Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo, also states that the company didn’t want to “scare away anyone from buying a Volvo” by setting the limit too low. 

On a broader scale, the system has been tested in 11 EU member states and has received mostly positive reviews. Many drivers said it took them a short time to adjust to the technology but appreciated the ISA.

Also, the ETSC claims that this system could reduce road collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%, which is an overwhelming positive for motorists.

Not only this, but fewer collisions means fewer claims. And fewer claims should mean that insurance premiums go down.


Car insurance

Compare quotes from up to 112 providers all in one place.

Get a quote