Will Speed Limiters Soon be Mandatory in the UK?

Those who work in the haulage industry know better than most how much of a problem speeding can be. It’s very rare you can be on the road day-in and day-out and avoid seeing the dangers of going too fast, with life-threatening collisions sadly all too common.

Limits help, of course, and they’re high enough on most major roads that few drivers will ever seriously need exceed them. However, these limits only work if they’re enforced, and throwing money and personnel at the problem in the form of speeding cameras and police officers may not be the best way to go.

Instead, many in the transport sector and in government are looking for ways to prevent speeding, rather than just catching the offenders. Read on to learn about one way that this could be achieved – and what it might mean for the haulage industry.

Speed Limiters

What are they?

Speed limiters are exactly what they sound like: devices that automatically limit a vehicle’s speed.

How do they work?

They use Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology to recognise how fast a vehicle is going, compare to area regulations and adjust accordingly. Some use GPS to work out limits in the area, while others come with a special camera to read and recognise signs. To slow the vehicle down, the device reduces engine power above a certain point.

Making Limiters Mandatory

Though the technology is available, many have not yet adopted it as they lack incentives. In the haulage industry especially, companies might ask why they should invest in limiters when many HGVs already discourage speeding by recording detailed telematics data.

But things could be changing, and these devices could be about to have a big impact on the transport sector.

Regulation

A law is currently being considered in the European Parliament that would make limiters mandatory on all vehicles in the EU within the next three years, and the influential European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is a vocal supporter of the proposal.

Whatever happens with Brexit, the UK is likely to follow Europe’s lead, as the national Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) has already stated its intentions to mirror EU rules after leaving.

What Could Change

Businesses and workers in the haulage industry would of course have to invest to comply with new regulations, but they’d also be some of the best placed groups to benefit from the changes. According to the ETSC, limiters would reduce collisions by 30%, saving an estimated 25,000 lives over the next 15 years.

To ease the transition, meanwhile, the ETSC also favours initially introducing models which can be overridden by pushing down hard on the accelerator, enabling operators to accelerate beyond limits if they think it’s necessary.

Crucially, phasing limiters in in this way would allow drivers to come around to the idea as benefits became visible. This would reduce the likelihood of car owners avoiding the new rules, helping keep roads safer for all users.

It might seem like a radical change, but introducing mandatory speed limiting could be just over the horizon. When and if it comes, it’s likely to make jobs much safer for drivers in the haulage industry.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service for the haulage industry, matching delivery work with available vehicles. It is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

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