Speed limiters and driver safety

Sir, – The article on intelligent speed assistance missed an important aspect of many innovative technologies – initial scepticism often falls away once people experience the benefits ("Are speed limiters taking driver safety a step too far?", May 11th).

Extensive trials of intelligent speed assistance in the UK certainly proved this, with most drivers’ appreciation of the system increasing as they got used to it.

Another point, as Ford has noted in its marketing, is that intelligent speed assistance helps drivers avoid speeding fines. Ford’s sales figures also suggest that the technology is something car drivers want today – 95 per cent of buyers are opting for the intelligent speed assistance option on its Galaxy and S-Max models.

As you note, the biggest benefits will come when all cars have the system installed.

But the only way to guarantee that is to start mandating the technology as soon as possible. We are calling for an over-ridable system. The EU could require such a system to be mandatory, as it has done in the past with electronic stability control.

But recently it has been dragging its feet on updating the safety requirements for new vehicles – the last update was back in 2009. It’s time the EU shifted up a gear.

Taking a longer view, it is clear that partly automated and fully autonomous cars are coming– getting systems such as intelligent speed assistance and automated emergency braking on cars now will help pave the way for that transition but could also save lives today. – Yours, etc,


Executive Director,

European Transport

Safety Council,



Chief Executive,

Road Safety Authority,


Co Mayo.