Half of car buyers are in favour, but only a quarter are against, our survey finds
1 August 2019

The recent burst of publicity around the mandatory introduction of speed limiters on new cars from 2022 has certainly brought them to the attention of car buyers. But how will they be received? 

Are they seen as a brilliant safety initiative that will save lives or an Orwellian intrusion adding to the danger of our roads by taking control away from the driver? Market research firm Simpson Carpenter questioned more than 1000 car buyers on behalf of Autocar to find out. 

Speed limiters, driver monitors to become mandatory in EU

Supporters of speed limiters outnumber opponents by two to one: 49% are in favour of speed limiters, while 24% are opposed. But those with strong feelings on an issue are always the most vocal and here the gap is much narrower – 18% are strongly in favour while 12% are strongly opposed. 

Support for speed limiters is strongest among women and those intending to buy a hybrid or electric car next time. 

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The most strongly opposed are those whose car has an engine size of 2.0 litres or bigger. Among this group, there are as many opponents as supporters (39% in each camp) and opponents are nearly twice as likely to feel strongly about the issue as supporters. 

Intelligent speed assistance: everything you need to know

Reasons given spontaneously for favouring speed limiters focus on the expected improvement in road safety and the reduction in the number of people speeding. 

Among supporters, those intending to buy a hybrid or electric car next time round are much more likely to point to road safety and reducing accidents as the reasons for their support. Older drivers are more likely to cite the reduction in the numbers speeding. 

Questioned in more detail, a strong majority of car buyers agree that reducing speeds will be good for the environment and will save thousands of lives each year. Nevertheless, there are major reservations: more than half think that drivers are better than technology at deciding on the right speed. Nearly half (47%) think speed limiters are a major intrusion into personal liberty and 41% believe they’ll cause more accidents than they prevent. 

What is remarkable is the stark difference in opinion between those in favour and those opposed to speed limiters, particularly in relation to their safety benefits and their intrusiveness. Nine in 10 of those in favour believe speed limiters will save thousands of lives each year. In contrast, more than eight in 10 of those opposed believe speed limiters will cause more accidents than they prevent. Almost nine in 10 opponents see them as a major intrusion into personal liberty, with as many as six in 10 feeling very strongly about their intrusiveness. 

The bad news for the industry is that many new car buyers plan to take avoiding action. Half of those against speed limiters say they will delay their next purchase so they can keep on driving without restriction and a further 30% say they will buy used rather than new. Even among those in favour of speed limiters in principle, nearly one in four will seek to avoid them. 

The good news is that one in four of those who support speed limiters say they would now be more likely to buy a new car. However, the net effect looks like being another drag on new car sales.

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Speed limiters, driver monitors to become mandatory in EU

Intelligent speed assistance: everything you need to know

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11

1 August 2019

I suspect the same folk are in favour of limiters, as favour more speed cameras. Because they think they slow down other folk. They dont think they break the limit, but they are the ones who drive at 40 mph (everywhere).

We have a 20 mph zone locally. It appears to me that 0% of people stick to it, and i suspect most exceed the 30 limit that was there before. These people will get a nasty shock when they discover the limiers effect them as well as other people!

1 August 2019
artill wrote:

We have a 20 mph zone locally. It appears to me that 0% of people stick to it, and i suspect most exceed the 30 limit that was there before. These people will get a nasty shock when they discover the limiers effect them as well as other people!

Or seem to go faster when the eventually get in to a town from the countryside!

 

Most of Edinburgh is now 20mph zones.   Areas that simply don't need a limit, or were never a problem because you rarely could do 30!   It's just a mess that makes you pick a different destination to spend your money on.   Zero benefit.

 

Yet they're doing nothing about the trams and their tracks that have killed and injured people.

1 August 2019

In theory speed limiters could well be a good thing, the problem could be people's reliance on them and therefore not using appropriate speed for the conditions. There's so many national speed limit roads which are not suitable for the high speeds they allow but a limiter will do nothing to prevent any accidents caused by high legal speeds. As artill points out there are many that sit at 40 in national speed limit areas and then continue at 40 as they pass through a village etc, so these limiters would help in these occasions. How reliable these systems will be and how often cars will fail the mot because of such systems and the cost of putting them right are my main concerns though since the likelihood of me affording to buy a new car anytime soon are pretty much nil I remain ambivalent.

 

1 August 2019

si73 is right on the money here. Speed limiters will only be of benefit from a safety point of view where the speed limit applicable to a piece of road is suitable for it. For example, there is a road very near my house that used to be a major A-road before a new motorway stretch was built so it's wide with good visibility and for some reason (temporary cameras in laybys collecting speeding fines perhaps) a speed limit of 50 has been applied to a huge stretch of it. In the 20+ years I've lived here I'm not aware of a single death on it so that shouldn't be the need for the limit but once speed limiters become mandatory no car will be able to travel over 50 on it. Yet, every one of those limited cars will be able to take one of a number of side roads onto single track, high hedge roads, and do 60mph as that's the speed limit on those roads. And I've witnessed people trying very hard to do exactly that and those that become frustrated being unable to travel at a speed appropriate for the road they're on are far more likely to use these small rat runs to "get their kicks" and as suggested by a good number in the survey, road deaths may well increase. It's also interesting to note that statistics show that in 2015 just 15% of road fatalities in the UK occurred where "speeding was a contributory factor" - that was 222 deaths. On top of this, where will all the lost government revenue come from when the tax that is speeding fines dries up completely and the reduced speeds on the roads means less fuel purchased and less fuel tax paid? At a minimum that's going to make the difference of 100s of millions per year and likely into the billions.

A far better way to reduce road fatalities would be with more and better policing and less reliance on cameras. Just ask the families of the people who died on the various Motorways of this country when hit by a car travelling the wrong way - no speed limiter will stop that happening only more and better policing. When I started driving the Motorways of the UK I expected to see a police vehicle on pretty much every journey or at least every second one. Now I might go 6 months or longer without seeing one. That's just wrong!

For context and just so you don't get the wrong idea about me I'm not one to speed on any road with an appropriate speed limit (and never in built up areas at all) and I will certainly never be found over the police's self imposed 10% + 2 allowances (as my clean licence of 30 years will attest) but I will make sure to buy a new car next year pre-limiters and keep it until I die or it does - whichever comes first! Ultimately I want to see out my days having the right and the choice of what speed I travel at.

1 August 2019

Reading this article reminded me of Sir Humphrey's speeches on 'Yes Prime Minister'! 

1 August 2019

 If it happens, I hope fully autonomous Cars do too!!!

289

1 August 2019

...... are just that Limits NOT targets.

Therefore speed limiters will do nothing for road safety as they will not be able to reduce the speed of the vehicle to adapt speed to circumstances. 20 mph being plenty when passing school children on the road in a 30 mph limit for example. Drivers have already shown that the more the car does FOR them, the less they take personal responsibility.

1 August 2019

As long as you can completely disable the limiter and use your own judgement while driving, I really don't care either way.

2 August 2019

Yes, we are due to have compulsory speed limiters too. Already the state of Victoria (Melbourne) has stated they will adopt the limiters. This is no surprise, Victoria has taken a no-tolerance approach to any speeding for many years. That means 2km/h over the limit anywhere, anytime and they'll book you. What has this achieved? Well, despite cars becoming ever safer, the accident rate has been climbing.

I live in NSW and recently drove through Victoria during a visit to some friends. It was a horrible experience, especially on motorways where motorists sat with their cars on cruise control at 100km/h, all much too close to each other and swapping lanes for no reason whatsoever - I think to relieve the boredom. Nobody dares speed, so you have large groups of cars travelling in frustrated packs, tailgating each other, too scared to accelerate into a safe space away from the hoard in case they get booked for speeding.

Needless to say, this is a recipe for disaster. One small mistake would trigger a multiple car accident. This is what I suspect will happen when we have speed limiters after 2022. More frustration, and more accidents. Welcome to the future.

2 August 2019

I'm personally not a fan of anything that takes routine responsibility away from the driver.

I also fail to see how this is going to save thousands of lives as RTAs where speed was a direct contributing factor was less than 1000 as previously stated.

I 12 years of driving I have never once been caught speeding or been invovlved in an RTA. That isn't because I spend my entire time 5mph below the speed limit. I regularly actually travel at faster than the indicated limits, if the car I'm driving, the condition of the road I'm driving on, the surroundings I'm driving in, the weather conditions I'm driving in and the traffic driving arouund me allow me to. Not excessively, mind. But then again, I keep my focus on the road ahead and around me.

I will quite often coast through the first part of a village where the speed limit drops from 60 to 30, allowing the car to slow itself down as it allows me to focus on what is around me and not on what speed I am doing at that specific moment. Eventually the car slows itself down through engine breaking, air and rolling resistance to the speed limit and I maintain that. I've also saved the environment by doing that as the period of coasting allows the engine to use practically no fuel and I've not had to use my brakes which keeps the wear down on those.

As any racing driver will tell you, speed itself is not fundamentally on its own dangerous. It's the application of too much speed in the wrong circumstance that is. Sometimes travelling at the speed limit is dangerous due to the conditions and circumstance around you, this will not do anything to change that. It will in fact make the problem worse as people will be de-sensitized from it. The car takes care of them not speeding so they don't have to bother to check what speed that they are doing.

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