As the European Parliament prepares to vote on mandatory in-vehicle technology, new research has found that speeding remains a prevailing problem in the EU.
The report, published yesterday by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), examined speed as a factor in road accidents on different road types:
- Between 23 per cent and 55 per cent of vehicles observed on motorways, which account for eight per cent of road deaths in the EU, were travelling above the speed limit;
- On urban roads, which see 37 per cent of the EU’s road deaths, between 35 per cent and 75 per cent of vehicles drove over the speed limit; and
- Rural non-motorway roads, where 55 per cent of EU road deaths occur, saw between nine per cent and 63 per cent of vehicles exceeding the speed limit.
Excessive speed is a factor in the majority of road collisions and is the primary cause of around 33 per cent of fatal collisions. The ETSC’s report found that Member States with the lowest rates of road deaths – Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands – are those with the strictest speed limits on rural roads; and recognised the efforts of France, Spain and Belgium to reduce rural speed limits.
The report’s authors noted as a key factor in reducing speed-related road deaths the Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) system, an in-vehicle device which uses a combination of sign recognition technology and GPS data to recognise the speed limit, alert drivers of potential breaches and automatically reduce the speed of the vehicle where necessary. ISA does not affect the brakes of a vehicle, but limits the power of the engine to prevent acceleration beyond the legal speed.
The Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament is set to vote on 21 February on new vehicle safety measures, including a proposal which will make in-vehicle ISA technology mandatory in new cars from 2022. Compulsory ISA in cars is projected to prevent around 20 per cent of road deaths in the EU; and the ETSC has called on MEPs to approve the measures.
Graziella Jost, Projects Director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: “500 people die every week on EU roads, a figure that has refused to budge for several years; and driving too fast is still the number one killer. It’s very simple: if we want to bring down the number of road deaths, we have to tackle speed effectively. Right now, the EU has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a massive difference. Including overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) on every new vehicle as standard could eventually prevent a fifth of road deaths. We urge MEPs to back this essential life-saving measure.”