Will UK drivers get mandatory speed limiters?

Department for Transport trials 'a success'

UK drivers face the prospect of mandatory speed limiters, after a government trial into the technology was apparently a success.

The Department for Transport has confirmed it will now look to work with vehicle manufacturers, local authorities, insurance companies and others to 'consider what steps should be taken to support the future availability of the technology.'

The trial involved Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) – an in-car device which can work in three different ways.

Apply brakes

The first would advise on the current speed limit of the road and warn the driver when they are exceeding that limit, the second is a voluntary system that applies the breaks automatically, but can be overridden, while the final option is a mandatory system that would not allow speeding at all.

The Department for Transport said that implementing the systems in the real world could curtail the number of deaths and injuries on the roads, but insists that nothing will be forced on drivers… yet.

"We are clear that any future use of ISA is taken forward by the motoring industry in response to consumer demand, just as with other technologies available for consumers to purchase if they so choose," said the DfT.

Apparently, those involved in the test felt safer with the ISA, apart from when they were overtaking – when mandatory speed cut-offs could obviously prove fatal.

End of driving for pleasure

Indeed, leading auto journalist Ian Dickson from MSN Cars told TechRadar: "These speed limiters will end the notion of driving for pleasure.

"No longer will we want to go on a Sunday drive or buy a fast car. And the dangers of such a device will soon become clear when you put your foot down to overtake a slower car and find that your car won't accelerate."

More than half of those involved said they would be willing to have ISA installed, but only if its use was voluntary.

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Global Editor-in-Chief

Patrick (Twitter) is Global Editor-in-Chief for techradar, and has been with the site since its launch in 2008. He is a longstanding judge of the T3 Awards, been quoted or seen on everything from the The Sun to Sky News and is on the #CoolBrands Council. He started his career in football, making him one of approximately one journalists to have covered both a World Cup final and an iPhone launch.