News that the British government had agreed to adopt European plans to fit speed-limiting devices to cars from 2022 is bound to depress anyone who loves driving, given that our enjoyment is largely based on control of our vehicles.

However, those who don’t feel as we do about driving are likely to anticipate what they will see as knee-jerk criticism and dismiss it. 

But there are far bigger and better grounds for criticising the speed governor idea than a mere reduction in driving pleasure. 

The wholesale reliance on electronics to control a vehicle’s maximum speed, while relying on a human driver for all the other functions – steering, slowing, gearchanging, overtaking, braking (as opposed to pre-collision braking) and sudden reactions such as obstacle avoidance – has very worrying aspects. 

Rather than helping to reduce Europe’s 25,000 road deaths each year, it’s quite likely that this system will simply create a whole new variety of accidents. Here are some of the concerns:

• Inattention: Anyone who drives long distances in tightly speed-limited conditions knows about the problem of inattention and its contribution to a driver falling asleep at the wheel. It happens enough on our motorways already, and in wide-open Australia and the US it is a constant problem.