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External controls for speeding drivers?

By: staff

Date: Thursday, 15. February 2007

Speeding drivers may become as extinct as the dinosaur as the result of government-funded research in the U.K. In fact, if the government there has the political will, compulsory electronic speed limiters could be fitted to all cars within a decade.

It's estimated that accidents on British roads would be reduced by 35 per cent by the "External Vehicle Speed Control" system, which would automatically limit the top speed of vehicles to the prevailing limit while imposing lower speeds when road conditions demand.

The three-year research project has been carried out by the University of Leeds and the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) and was funded by the Vehicle Standards and Engineering Division of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

The prediction on accident savings is based on an analysis of the relationship between speed and the probability of accidents of various types and a calculation of how the system would alter vehicle speeds, particularly those of the fastest drivers.

Project leader Dr. Oliver Carsten, of the university's Institute for Transport Studies, said after Phase I of the study: "It is hard to conceive of any other single intervention or system that would achieve comparable reductions in injuries and fatalities. The predicted resolution is far greater than that achieved by the compulsory wearing of seatbelts, perhaps the most successful single measure to date."

Studies completed during Phase I showed that urban residents would be willing to pay about 15 pounds a year through local taxes to have their streets equipped for automatic speed limiters. This could provide a cheaper and more effective alternative to current traffic calming measures. Drivers would be willing to pay 148 pounds a year for speed limiters provided the system is universally applied.

It's expected the government will be told that system trials have been so successful that a phased program introducing the speed control system would dramatically reduce traffic congestion, cut accidents and save lives.

Such a program, however, would undoubtedly face strong opposition from civil liberties groups concerned about infringement of drivers' rights, and also from the vehicle manufacturers, whose advertising frequently relies on the image of fast and powerful cars.

It's believed the speed control system will rely heavily on satellite navigation to locate each vehicle. This would be combined with an in-car computer containing a digital road map encoded with the speed limits of each street in Britain and a device to cut off the fuel supply above the designated speed limit.

Apparently, similar systems are under investigation in Sweden and Holland.

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All Comments (4)

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I hope someday they will succeed. It will definitely make our lives safer. And there can be methods to avoid privacy rights infringements if that is what the article means by talking about concerns from civil liberties groups.

@ Tim: People who currently respect the limit will continue to do so. The limiting system is to address people apparently like you who are told how fast they can drive but they could not care less.

Yes, they could tell you how fast you could jog. But that is always a call derived from risk assessment and management, something that you do not seem to understand. Speeding while driving actually kills people in huge quantities world wide and not only theoretically. It is a serious and real danger.

If jogging too fast becomes a threat one day, society might bring into discussion whether or not further action should be taken to mitigate that threat.

Until then, stop making useless comparisons and bitching against your alleged right to disrespect the law and to make everyone else's life less safe.



Jogging belts and air bags, cause you never know who you'll run into.

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Nope it will only affect people who alredy drive slow(they will get slowwerr). I on the other hand will be driving an older car with the system being ither absent or of. Have fun being under the governments control.
Whats next? Are they gonna tell me how fast I can ride my bicycle, or how fast I can run. I can be prety dangerous if I accidentaly run into someone whos stroling along in the jogging lane. Especialy if it's an old fart.
Stuff like that will ither lead to a tottaly submissive society or a revolution.

Billy Bob,

This is the best idea. This will end speeding forever and make the roadways safer and make people act responsible.

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