Hit & Run

New E.U. Rules Would Mandate Technology Preventing Cars From Going Above the Speed Limit

Intelligent Speeding Assistance raises practical and privacy concerns.



The European Union has provisionally agreed on new auto safety rules that will require all cars sold within the E.U.'s 27 member countries to come with a host of new safety features, including intelligent speeding assistance (ISA)—which would prevent cars from going above the speed limit—by 2022.

According to The New York Times, drivers would still be allowed to switch the technology off at their discretion, but the car would have to start with it flipped on.

"Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error," said E.U. Commissioner El?bieta Bie?kowska in a press release announcing the new rules. "With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced."

The E.U.'s goal is laudable, particularly given the death toll cited by Bie?kowska, as well as the fact that the main cause of 30 percent of all fatal accidents on European roads is speeding. Nevertheless, the safety mandates coming out of the E.U. may well be a bit over ambitious.

That's according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), which argues that intelligent speeding assistance (ISA) is currently too unreliable to be accepted by customers.

The speeding technology would work either by onboard cameras detecting roadside speed limits signs, or by using a digital database of speed limits to check a driver's speed versus what's allowed on a particular road.

Simpler versions of this technology would simply warn drivers when they are going too fast. A more intrusive form of it, which the E.U wants to mandate, would actively prevent a driver from going beyond what is allowed on a particular road.

But as the ACEA notes, there are obstacles to implementation. Road signs are not standardized across Europe. Even if they were, signs are often damaged or covered by foliage. That means onboard cameras might have difficulty seeing and interrupting these visual cues.

There also currently doesn't exist a single database that keeps up-to-date records on all speed limits across all European roads, which would limit the GPS-based version of this technology.

Requiring all cars to be linked up to such a database at all times also raises privacy concerns.

Even if ISA technology did function perfectly all the time and did not implicate any privacy issues, that does not prove it should be mandatory. Every mandated safety feature is naturally going to increase the cost of a car, with those costs getting passed on to consumers.

This economic fact implicates not just the ISA technology, but also a host of other features the E.U. is pushing, including back-up cameras and a requirement that all new cars come with the ability to have breathalyzers installed in ignitions.

The more these safety mandates cost, the more consumers will be priced out of vehicle ownership or have to cut back on other expenses in order to afford a car. That's a real cost that can't be ignored.

The new rules announced this week have only been agreed to in principle by the E.U's Parliament, Commission (executive branch), and Council of Ministers (which consists of elected officials from each country), but still needs to be formally voted on before it can go into effect.

NEXT: This Man Didn't Kill Anyone. Texas Plans To Execute Him Tonight Anyway. (UPDATE: Supreme Court Blocks Execution)

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  1. So if you are say trying to escape someone who means you harm or trying to get a person to a hospital, you are screwed. Beyond the very grave concerns expressed here, there is the underlying assumption that abiding an arbitrary speed limit is more important than someone's life. That, is bureaucracy in a nutshel.

    1. That arbitrary speed limit is precisely what sets the baseline expectation for what every other driver on the road is expecting from every other driver. If you seriously think that no speed limits ever need be communicated - and that that would make driving safer - then you're a bit deluded

      1. I don't see how you can interpret "abiding by an arbitrary speed limit is not more important than someone's life" to mean there should be no speed limits. That makes no sense and was not what I was saying.

        Beyond that, no speed limits are worthless and counter productive. People ignore them and drive with the speed of the traffic and or the natural speed limit imposed by the weather or traffic conditions. Saying speed limits are necessary rests on the assumption that people are suicidal and would drive at unsafe speeds unless the government was there to fine them. And that is just nonsense. Speed limits are a money making tool and nothing else.

        1. I'm siding with John here - I don't know how the hell you got there from here.

          1. John is right.

            The scientific consensus* says it is not speed that kills, but speed variance.

            *2 civil engineering buddies of mine and Eric Peters

            1. Oh no, speed kills. But what causes the accident is far more important. A person driving the speed limit and texting is far more dangerous than a person doubling the speed limit. They're paying attention. If not, they know they'll die.

              Keeping with the flow of traffic is better.

        2. >>>Speed limits are a money making tool and nothing else.

          not even the police adhere to them in Dallas. wild west.

        3. People ignore them and drive with the speed of the traffic and or the natural speed limit imposed by the weather or traffic conditions.

          In my experience, this is a conditionally valid defense against violations.

          On a two-lane road, if the car behind you and the car in front of you are doing 15 mph over, you don't have a lot of choice about abiding by the speed limit.

          1. WTF? This makes absolutely no sense.

          2. If the car behind you *wants* to do 15 over and you are in the way, he can either pass or put up with your speed.

            Or are you worried about some Duel-inspired brodozer pushing you?

            A little realism helps.

            1. If its a no-passing zone, or there is traffic on the other side, he won't be able to pass. And if he's "putting up" with your speed he's almost certainly going to be tailgating, creating an even more dangerous condition than going 15 over the limit

        4. People ignore them

          No they don't. Behaviorally (and verified statistically), a posted speed limit dramatically narrows the range of actual speeds driven. And in fact it is that narrow range that is called 'drive with the speed of the traffic' and that is safe. Sure, people push that posted limit in the US because there is no real penalty for pushing it. The fact remains that without a posted speed limit, speeds would vary from stopped in a lane to whatever the max of some car is.

          Now personally, I'd prefer that roads were just designed to naturally and directly inflict punishment - eg off-camber curves so 'speeding' is punished by slamming the car into a tree and killing the driver and thus eliminating the future problem. But drivers prefer banked curves so they can drive faster - and then want to ignore speed limits as well.

          would drive at unsafe speeds

          They do. All the time. The only safety 95+% of drivers care about is their personal safety. They do not give a shit about anyone else's safety outside their own vehicle. And the reality is that every single 'safety improvement' of a car is designed solely to protect those inside the car - which makes it even easier to push what is more dangerous outside it.

          1. Germany has large areas of its autobahn without speed limits and the roads are safer than they are in the US. And if you don't think people ignore speed limits, you must be living in Hooterville or something because they sure do everywhere I have lived.

            The only safety 95+% of drivers care about is their personal safety. They do not give a shit about anyone else's safety outside their own vehicle.

            Sure. And the first rule of remaining safe is not hitting you. So, they do care about your safety if indirectly.

            1. autobahn without speed limits

              The POSTED 130kph is freaking everywhere on the rural stretches with no 'hard limit' and 2/3 or more of drivers stick to roughly that. In addition, they seriously limit minimum speeds on those stretches of autobahn in order to accommodate higher maxs and keep the range of speeds narrow. You drive some old shitmobile that breaks down because you can't afford a new one - or you run out of gas? YOU will be charged with a crime. Many different vehicles aren't even allowed on the autobahn. And god help you if you head into the left lane driving slowly - four of those offenses mean 1 yr suspension, 8 permanent - assuming you don't get killed. So - freedom for some, exclusion for others.

              Oh - and the German car companies already sell their cars with speed governors.

              1. You just have to argue for EVERY statist position ever. What a shit heel you are.

          2. >>>people push that posted limit in the US because there is no real penalty for pushing it

            i push it because driving slow burns my soul

          3. So you're saying that Darwin should regulate speeding? Cause people deserve to die for speeding (and anyone near them on the road or in their car like children)?

        5. Speed limits are a money making tool and nothing else.

          This X 1,000

      2. Huh? I don't drive based on some hypothetical assumptions, I use my senses.

    2. Not to mention that pretty much everyone goes over the speed limit on the open road if traffic permits it. What would it do to traffic? How much time would be wasted?

    3. There's also tons of other implications. Hacking can halt travel. That'd be a new form of terrorism. There's also the potential for governments to abuse the system to impose travel restrictions. Not to mention implementation problems. There's a huge potential for abuse.

  2. I'd prefer technology that keeps people from going under the minimum highway speed limit the moment 2 droplets of water fall from the sky.

    1. Around Atlanta, the rule is that when it starts raining you should speed up, allow no more than 3 feet following distance and for God's sake whatever you do, make sure your headlights are off.

      1. Driving on the Atlanta freeway was one of the scariest moments in my life. Everyone is doing 80 bumper to bumper. If you allow a car length between you and the car in front of you, someone inevitably swoops into the space, making sure that no two cars are more than 3 feet apart. Ridiculous.

        1. The secret is to drive like a maniac. As long as everybody's driving the same way, everything goes smoothly. It's those few drivers who aren't driving like a maniac who cause the problems.

      2. "Around Atlanta, the rule is that when it starts raining you should speed up, allow no more than 3 feet following distance and for God's sake whatever you do, make sure your headlights are off."

        Though headlights are optional.
        Because at any moment*, that rain could turn into snowpocalypse 2014 - and nobody wants the connector locked down for 36-48 hours.

        *don't let the "science" of freezing points fool you - weather at each and every moment is completely independent of prior conditions in ATL

    2. You're a Florida native as well?

      1. Also prevent people from using their hazzards when windshield wipers are activated, thanks. I've been in rain so heavy on the interstate that the semi-truck in front of me disappeared and so did the car in the next lane. I was driving in a whiteout. I still didn't use hazzard lights. Then it'd be a flashing amber-out.

  3. Red Barchetta.

  4. "The speeding technology would work either by onboard cameras detecting roadside speed limits signs"

    Oh, good. So some prankster obliterates the "6" on "65" and everyone is slowed down to 5 miles (or kilometers) per hour.

    1. I rented a car in Norway and the dash screen constantly updated the speed limit, and turned red if you went more than 5 km/hr over. I don't know how they did it, because the GPS beacon and speed limits were incredibly accurate even in tunnels several miles long. I'm assuming GPS, but with some additional sort of system for tunnels (Norway has A LOT of tunnels)

      1. GPS and regional caching. Speed limits in tunnels don't change very much.

    2. Or adds a "1" in front of a "25" sign. Don't tell me it won't happen!

    3. The camera concept is simply foolish. I have no idea why anyone would think this is a good idea.

  5. the problem with speed limiters is that now you may be unable to get yourself out of trouble which often requires exceeding the speed limit to avoid certain situations. But i can see this happening here as well for our own good even if it kills us

  6. consumers will be priced out of vehicle ownership"

    thats a feature not a bug to these people. get the poor peoples crappy cars out of the way of my limo

  7. intelligent speeding assistance (ISA) is currently too unreliable to be accepted by customers.

    So - the technology ain't good enough to figure out the speed of the vehicle but it's almost good enough to stick robodriver in charge of actually driving the damn thing?

    1. Yeah. I still laugh at the robocar believers.

      1. Yeah, and in 1980 you were laughing at the 'wireless phone' believers too.

        1. And we've been laughing at the "fusion in 20 years people" for 50 or 60 years now.

          Is a robocar close to a working technology already in production, such as wireless phones in 1980, or fusion?

          1. Wireless phones weren't in production in 1980.

            1. You are incorrect.

              First automatic analog cellular systems deployed were NTT's system first used in Tokyo in 1979, later spreading to the whole of Japan, and NMT in the Nordic countries in 1981.


            2. West Germany had a network called A-Netz launched in 1952 as the country's first public commercial mobile phone network. In 1972 this was displaced by B-Netz which connected calls automatically


            3. Lolololol fucking idiot Fagammammon makes fool of self, runs away.

              No dipshit, there were many many wireless phones in production in 1980. You're an imbecile.

        2. Just becaus some technologies work doesn't mean all of them work. If they did, we would have jetpacks and flying cars. Some problems are tough to crack. More importantly, a technology only takes off if the marginal benefit over what we have today is greater than the cost. People who get hyped up about things like robot cars or segways forget that and think that technology takes off based on its overall cost benefit. No, it is the marginal cost benifit. If we didn't have cars, robot cars would be a huge deal. But we do have cars. So, the only benefit they provide is the difference between driving yourself or being driven. And that is much smaller. When you combine that with the huge problem that designing an AI that can communicate and reason at the sublte and high levels necessary to drive on actual roads with other human drivers, you see how things are not going to work the way the supports thing.

          Beyond all of that, the real issue wiith robot cars is that they get the man and machine relationship backwards. Robot cars have the machine do the driving with the human there to step in if something goes wrong. That is exactly backwards. Machines are terrible at judgement and driving but great at monitoring. Humans are the exact opposite. The future of cars is not self driving echo boxes. It is cars that you dive but monitor and step in to save you if anything goes wrong or maybe drives itself in limited circumstances like stop and go traffic. That is the future

          1. OT: Given your KC background, you should know the answer to the following question:

            What is the best remedy for hemorrhoids?

            1. George still doesn't know

              1. Ah, he does. Its pine tar.

                1. nice. my grandma threw her iced tea across the kitchen when they called George out on that homer

                  1. Fucking Yankees.

          2. Just because some technologies are not ready for deployment right now doesn't mean they never will be.

            1. Sure. But for the reasons I state above, I don't think robot cars ever will be in wide use. They just don't make any sense. What makes sense is cars that assist you in driving.

            2. I've talked to ACTUAL engineers working on driverless cars... The people actually making the tech think it will be another 10-20 years before it's close to really being a replacement for human drivers.

              That is to say we already have essentially super cruise control... And it will be good enough for MANY situations in just another couple years... But to be basically ready to get beyond that 90% of situations point to 100% is going to be a BITCH. According to the actual engineers I have talked to about it.

              So cruising down the interstate in summer, sure. Cruising down a rural 2 lane mountain highway in the middle of a snow storm with no visible lines on the road... You're gonna be waiting awhile.

      2. Yeah. I still laugh at the robocar believers.

        I'm still a little baffled by primarily analogue speed control. I assumed that once we got cruise control, we'd have a panel of speeds 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 75 and the gas pedal would be relegated to anything in between. I think this would go a long way to appeasing all parties except the niche obnoxious curmudgeons who think kids should learn to drive manual transmissions. OK, it probably wouldn't please the grafting local bureaucracies and that's probably the reason why it's not a reality.

        1. That would be insane and very dangerous. The appropriate speed for a situation does not come in five mile per hour increments.

          1. Maybe combined with something that keeps you a certain distance behind the car in front. Which is already a thing, so you probbably don't need the 5 mph buttons anyway.

        2. I think this would go a long way to appeasing all parties except the niche obnoxious curmudgeons who think kids should learn to drive manual transmissions.

          How's it going?

    2. Umm...it's not the speed of the vehicle...it's if the vehicle is exceeding the speed limit...limits which I expect aren't currently in anyone's road map database.

      1. My car has the GPS and Vision-sensing speed limit information. My car either relies on a database of known speed limits or recognizes the speed limits posted on the side of the road (it uses the same cameras for the lane-keeping functionality). It works about 90% of the time, when I am in cities, and puts a small speed limit sign on my navigation screen when it knows the speed limit.

        IMHO, objecting to this on technology grounds (it is impossible or expensive) is a bad idea, because in 10 years that argument becomes moot in many cases.

    3. >>>accepted by customers.

      i'm a "never".

  8. Well, given how "smart" modern cars are now, you knew this sort of thing was going to happen eventually.

  9. "as well as the fact that the main cause of 30 percent of all fatal accidents on European roads is speeding"

    Uh no. Much like falling, it's not the speed that kills you, it's the sudden deceleration.

    Seriously though, speed may increase the likelihood of accidents being fatal, but it doesn't generally cause accidents.

    1. Its generally accepted that its large differences in speeds between vehicles that cause accidents (dudes weaving in and out). And it does increase, somewhat, the likelyhood that you'll be in a single-vehicle accident - the faster you go the greater the risk that you'll lose control. Especially as the people who like going the fastest tend to have the shittiest cars with the shittiest care given them.

      1. I think that the root cause of most accidents on highways is not speed but people's over use of cruise control, total disrespect for the left lane, and over concern about speed. Because people use cruise control and refuse to speed up and put distance between them and other cars, cars bunch up. Add to that the horrible habit people have of blocking the left lane and cruising next to another car and you have a recipe for disaster. If instead of obsessing about speed limits, governments would enforce the left lane rules about passing only and on stopping people weaving in and out of traffic and doing dangerous things, the roads would be a lot safer. The best way to avoid a collision is to stay away from other cars. And the factors I list cause cars to bunch up and ultimately hit each other.

        1. That sounds like misuse of cruise control. I love cruise control on the highway, but I'm always attentive and adjust my speed to traffic and pass appropriately.

  10. Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads.

    1. In how many was exceeding the local speed limit a factor? Not 'excessive speed' but exceeding the posted speed limit?

    2 There are 508 million people in the EU. If we take, for the sake of argument, all 25,000 road deaths are due to exceeding the posted speed limit that is .005% of the EU population. In 2017 there were 1.8 million deaths attributed in whole or part to cardiovascular disease. 161,000 people dead from accidents of all types - including road accidents.

    You're going to direct *billions* of dollars to slightly reducing a single category that makes up less than 16% of the total accidental deaths in the EU?

    1. That is a good point. Even if they cut it in half, that would be 12,000 lives or around 6% of the total accident deaths.

    2. not all 25k would likely have survived the year on their own w/o the MVA either.

  11. The more these safety mandates cost, the more consumers will be priced out of vehicle ownership or have to cut back on other expenses in order to afford a car. That's a real cost that can't be ignored.

    Not a bug, working as intended. Close report.

  12. So will this apply to all cars or just the ones the peasants drive?

  13. I can just see someone becoming a moving roadblock because their car could not see the speed limit increase from 40 to 55.

    1. Or a guided missile because it missed the construction zone signs and the drop from 55 to 25.

      1. Eh, no danger there - its not like road workers are ever on-site more than 30 minutes a week anyway.

      2. Presumably it would allow you to manually go slower than the last speed limit it registered.

        Though I am now also wondering now about private drives that post a 15 mph speed limit and getting on a road that does not have any speed limit signs near where you enter.

        Government officials have amazing faith in the ability of engineers to solve the problems they present. The engineers are tearing their hair out.

  14. "FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!"

    ----Donald Trump


    He's baiting the Democrats to criticize this.

    I guess the 2020 campaign is now in full swing.

    1. The Democrats are so screwed with this. If they defend it, they end up defending double standard celbrity justice. If they don't, they offend their bat shit crazy base who think that his intersectual superiority means he should get away with anything.

      Smollette meanwhile is set up to become the most hated man in America since OJ. He is going to be the poster child for celebrity and wealthy privilage. I hope he invested well because he is never getting a paying gig again.

      1. This is the way Trump got himself elected in 2016--without hardly spending any money.

        It's like when he went after the NFL players for refusing to stand during the national anthem. How could the Democrats with with that issue?

        It's the same thing. I don't know how the Democrats respond to this. Calling him a racist just makes everyone who calls anybody a racist look bad by association.

        They're fucked.

        All the Democrats can do at this point is hope for a recession.

      2. The rest of the Republicans are catching on, too. That's what that Green New Deal vote in the Senate was about. Trump is showing them the way.

        You Democrats want to defend this Green New Deal? Here you go, vote for it, then. Hope you choke on it.

        1. The worst (best) part is how committed their lemmings still are.
          I've seen all sorts of defenses that the GND vote was a mean stunt and ridiculous because it hasn't been through committees. Then, bragging about how the Ds outsmarted that wicked McConnell by voting 'present' instead of for or against it.
          They actually see it as a win.
          Truly amazing.

  15. My Volvo reads speed limit signs. It gets very angry when I drive through school zones at night.

  16. I hate fucking lane assist.

    Weaving in and out of lanes on the freeway, my car is gonna nag and nag and nag and nag?

    Nagging is not an attractive quality. They charge you extra for the nagging? I'm sure it's a popular feature with women . . . or something.

  17. The EU bureaucrats just can't see the resentment piling up, can they? If the Yellow Jackets in France aren't clue enough, how about the rise in popularity of right wing populist parties in national elections?

    I do not think the EU has long to live. I will be surprised if it is still around in its current incarnation in 2030. Either countries are going to start withdrawing, or national parliaments are going to dare the EU bureaucracy to molon labe, or something ... and the EU bureaucrats are not going to be the winners.

    1. Add to that the fact that the EU has made Europe a German protectorate and that can't last. If you look at what the German plan for Europe was had they won World War I, it is pretty much the EU. France and England threw away an entire generation fighting World War I only to give the Germans everything they wanted 80 years and another world war later.

      1. There's a good meme out there:

        Me: Can I copy your homework?
        Friend: Sure, just make sure you change it a little bit so no one notices.
        [Picture of Nazi Europe map]
        [Picture of EU map]

        1. I'd say stick with the Prussian Eagle. It's less in-your-face, but more accurate.

  18. As others have pointed out, I don't have a problem with technology that prevents you from exceeding the speed limit as long as it's accompanied by technology that prevents you from driving under the speed limit too. Pick a goddamn lane and then drive the same speed as everybody else in that lane you assholes. And if you're being passed on the right, it should be legal to run you off the road, drag your ass out of the car and beat you to death with a tire iron. In fact, forget the speed-governing technology, just make it legal to beat asshole drivers to death and we'll be good.

  19. The more these safety mandates cost, the more consumers will be priced out of vehicle ownership

    They probably consider that a feature, not a bug.

  20. And what do you expect will happen when all cars are self-driving?

  21. Compared to the old ODB III proposal that cars would self report speeding to the cops so a ticket can be issued this is almost reasonable. I mean it's not your car, you only pay for it, it's upkeep and licensing.

  22. Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    >>>>>>>>>> http://www.GeoSalary.com

  23. Argh. Is there any research on how frequently speeding AVOIDS accidents? I thought not. Because I've hit the gas and gone over the speed limit for a moment to avoid issues FAR more times than I ever have causing issues, since I've never been in an accident in my life.

    Nanny state bullshit... It is getting REALLY out of control. You can bet it won't be long before Dems will be pushing this in the USA.

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