Speed angel?

Are the days of the speed demon numbered? New plans to cut road deaths could automatically limit your vehicle’s speed and keep you to the limit.

30 Miles per Hour Road Sign

Speed limiters are nothing new. If you’ve driven a commercial van or truck you may have found your speed automatically limited. And many production line cars have optional limiters – although how well used they are is another matter.

It’s our resistance to keeping driving speeds down that has led the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) to suggest a mandatory speed limiting system, which springs to life as you switch on the ignition. The system would use existing sat nav technology to identify changing speed limits and keep your hire car (and every other vehicle, for that matter) to them.

You would be able to go faster, enabling you to hit the accelerator to get out of trouble, for example, but not without a warning tone sounding – which is likely to be enough to see anyone keeping to the limit.

Why make the change? The ETSC, as reported in the Express, suggests that in 15 years the limiters could reduce collisions by 30%, saving around 25,000 lives.

But saving lives may not be the only benefit. Studies show that lower speeds enable more traffic to move more freely. It’s the principle behind the variable speed limits that are now in force on motorways across the UK. By effectively placing an extension of that system in your rental vehicle, you could find that, far from making your journey slower, the limiter makes your journey safer and simpler, with less time sat in standing traffic.

With more vehicles on our roads than every before, could a limiter be a price worth paying to ensure more of us get to where we need to go more easily?

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