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New legislation to improve road safety including vehicle speed limiters

Joe Robinson
27 Mar 2019

Cycling UK praises new legislation set to be enforced by 2022

New legislation from the European Union looks set to drastically improve road safety with the introduction of speed-limiting technology, advanced emergency braking and improvement of direct vision to all new motor vehicles by 2022.

Announced on Wednesday, the European Commission approved proposals for all new vehicles to be fitted with devices that contain intelligent speed assistance, advanced emergency braking and warnings for when drivers are using their phone or experiencing drowsiness.

The same legislation could also see the retrofitting of an alcohol interlock device and measures to improve the direct vision and eliminate blind spots from lorries.

Speed limiting will be enforced by an internal GPS device, mapping and roadside signs that tell the vehicle what the speed limit is. This will then limit the car to the speed limit, but the system can be overridden if the driver pushes down on the accelerator. 

Although yet to be fully approved by the European Parliament, it's expected that the legislation will be passed and fully enforced by 2022 and despite the UK's upcoming departure from the EU, the Department for Transport has confirmed all legislation will be introduced into UK law.

The EU estimates that changes could prevent 140,000 serious injuries by 2038 and potentially cut all road deaths to zero by 2050, with EU commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska comparing the legislation to previous changes in road safety. 

'Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error,' said Bienkowska.

'With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when safety belts were first introduced.'

Leading UK cycling charity, Cycling UK, is largely in favour of the new EU legislation, with head of campaign's Duncan Dollimore commenting that it directly deals with some of their biggest policies.

'Cycling UK in our response to the EU’s consultation on changes to safety regulations identified all of today’s announcement in our top five priorities for increased road safety, particularly for cyclists,' said Dollimore.

'Given the disproportionate danger lorries present to cyclists, Cycling UK’s first priority was the introduction of a direct vision standard for lorries to eliminate dangerous blind spots.

'We’re delighted to see the European Commission is proposing to introduce this requirement, which we hope the EU Parliament will approve, and the UK Government will adopt regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

'It’s also reassuring the UK Government have confirmed that any decisions made in Brussels about speed limiting technology will also in the UK.'

While praising the legislation, Dollimore also warned that drivers will adjust their driving habits to avoid detection so policing and enforcement will be needed in conjunction with the new laws.

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