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New cars could be fitted with 'Big Brother' speed limiters that set off alarms or reduce engine power

By Tom Gibson | April 19, 2022

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Ruling is in line with controversial EU plans despite the UK not being a member

New cars could be fitted with 'Big Brother' speed limiters that set off alarms or reduce engine power

New cars could be fitted with speed limiters that set off alarms, reduce engine power or pull back the throttle under radical plans that have already been seen and approved by the UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency.

Despite Britain's decision to leave the EU the agency, which is responsibly for upholding and administering vehicle standards, previously said it intended to mirror the bloc's rules on vehicle safety standards.

It’s thought that going in a different direction from EU regulations would prove a nightmare for manufacturers looking to trade in both the UK and the 27-nation bloc. 

The devices use GPS data and traffic cameras to determine speed limits and then when a driver goes above that limit an alarm could sound, the engine power could be reduced or the accelerator automatically pushed back.

In what would undoubtedly be seen as an intrusive way of managing speed limits, studies have shown that by doing so, road traffic accidents can be reduced by as much as 20%.

One Tory MP said the ‘Big Brother’ style technology was 'totally unnecessary' in an interview with The Telegraph.

'We've got a well-established system of people taking their driving test, understanding the law, proving they can drive properly and then being trusted to do so, with harsh penalties if they don't,' he told went on to say.

The news of the alarming new system comes as 60mph speed limits are increasingly enforced across the country as Smart Motorway fever seemingly grips decision makers across the UK.

Although some of those speed limits have been brought in for safety concerns, others are being introduced to help tackle pollution after a National Highways report found that 30 areas of its road networks had legally unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The devices themselves will form part of a consultation on a range of vehicle safety measures being discussed by ministers with Citroen, Ford and Jaguar already building the devices into a small proportion of their models.

Edmund King, the president of the AA raised concerns about how cameras would adapt to temporary speed limits, saying: 'The speed limits have to be totally accurate because the car is reacting to the speed limit. 

'If you've got the wrong speed limit in the digital system, it might slow you to the wrong speed or allow you to speed to the wrong speed.

'Anything that then seeks to layer in more distrust of the state of its citizens to be able to do what is sensible, legal and practical is just unnecessary nannying.'   

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