Monday, 5 January 2009

Speed-Limiting Devices

Speed-limiting devices called intelligent speed adaption (ISA) should be fitted to cars on a voluntary basis to help save lives and cut carbon emissions we were told today (30th December 2008). A panel from the Commission for Integrated Transport and the Motorists' Forum, both of which advise the Government on transport, explained that adding the technology to vehicles would cut injuries from road accidents by 29 per cent. The study also looked at how the devices would help fuel consumption, emissions, noise and ease traffic on the roads.

The report follows lengthy trials backed the Department for Transport, which has been in talks with the motor industry over how the devices could be made available.
Government transport advisers want voluntary speed-limiting devices fitted to cars to help save lives and cut emissions.

The device then uses satellite positioning to check if a vehicle is breaking the speed limit and will automatically slow a car down and apply the brakes if necessary. John Lewis, who chaired the panel, said: "You can override the device that we're talking about, either by pressing a button on the steering wheel or by kicking down the accelerator as you would on an automatic car.

From an environmental perspective, the report found that on 70mph roads, keeping to the speed limit could lead to savings of up to 6 per cent in CO2 emissions which would be a great help towards the Governments carbon footprint cutting targets.

However, critics have warned that a similar, existing system for truck drivers showed that the devices could cause drivers to not give driving their full attention.

In a report published in September 2007, only two percent of road accidents were caused by adult drivers exceeding the posted speed limit, according to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) The DfT based its analysis on 147,509 accidents ranging in severity from slight to fatal. So would a Speed-limiting device really have much of an impact on road traffic accident figures?

Volvo has fitted a ‘City Safe’ feature in their new XC60. This safety device was developed because rear-end collisions make up 29 per cent of all reported car accidents. This safety feature is designed to work at slow speeds (20 mph and below), they types of speeds that you might be travelling at in a city or town centre.

Is this latest idea just another gimmick from the Nanny State? Shouldn’t we all just be using our own common sense, and obey the already existing laws that ensure everyone’s safety? And wont car manufacturers think that speed-limiting devices fitted in their vehicles will make their cars less desirable?

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