Today the European Parliament will vote for or against the compulsory use of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) in all road vehicles.

Some cars with the ISA system fitted are already on sale, but if the proposals are agreed, the law hopes to be applied to all road vehicles in the European market by 2022. By implementing the ISA technology, the European Parliament hopes to improve road safety across the European Union and reduce speed-related incidents by up to 20%.

The European Commission proposed the update to the EU’s General Safety Regulation for motor vehicles in May 2018, prior to the introduction of permanent speed cameras on smart motorways across the UK. The application of ISA would be introduced alongside a number of other new technologies aiming to improve road safety, including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assistance (LKA).


But the UK’s planned withdrawal from the European Union on March 29 raises questions about how, or if, new safety legislation will apply to UK drivers. According to a survey carried out by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line, nine out of ten drivers want safety standards to remain at least as high as the rest of the EU, post-Brexit.

Most drivers agreed that all new cars should be fitted with the latest ‘life-saving’ technology, but one third said they wouldn’t want to spend more money on it. While the consequences of Brexit are still uncertain, the findings suggest that continuing to follow EU legislation could help deliver life-saving technology to every driver.

But what exactly is ISA? It’s an in-vehicle technology which works to limit a vehicle’s speed so that it would be unable to exceed the speed limit of a road it’s travelling on. It does so by enabling the vehicle to detect, using GPS and cameras that read signals, the speed limit of the road at any moment. If the vehicle is travelling too fast, the ISA will give a warning with an audio or visual signal, before feeding back through the steering wheel or accelerator pedal. The ISA would automatically begin to slow the vehicle down as required- not by applying the brakes, but by limiting engine power to prevent the vehicle accelerating beyond the current speed limit.


Words: Rebecca Wright

Tony Carter

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