Intelligent speed limiters to become standard in new vehicles from May 2022

Safety features like intelligent speed assistance (ISA), emergency braking and lane-keeping technology will be installed as standard in all new vehicles as of May 2022, the EU has announced.

Despite Brexit, the new rules will still be adopted in the UK as the EU believes the measures will help avoid 140,000 serious injuries and help cut deaths on the road to zero by 2050.

The rules mean that new vehicles will have to adopt almost 30 new features as standard.

But it's the intelligent speed assistance feature, or speed limiting technology, that is perhaps the most controversial.

This works by the car being told what speed it's doing through a combination of GPS, digital maps and video cameras that read the road signs ahead.

When it comes to overtaking, drivers will be able to override the system to make sure they can complete their manoeuvre safely – similar to the cruise control systems already installed in many cars.

Joshua Harris, campaign director for road safety charity Brake heralded the news as a landmark day for road safety, while the Department for Transport claimed "the interventions are expected to deliver a step-change in road safety across Europe and the UK."

But president of the AA Edmund King fears that the new safety features might encourage drivers take more risks, not less, when they're behind the wheel.

Talking to the BBC, he agreed there was "a good case" for cars to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking but said when it comes to intelligent speed adaptation, the case wasn't as clear.

"The best speed limiter is the driver's right foot. The right speed is often below the speed limit – for example, outside a school with children about – but with ISA there may be a temptation to go at the top speed allowed," he said.

Other potentially life-saving tech to be introduced to new vehicles includes advanced driver distraction warning – perfect to stop tired drivers nodding off at the wheel – and event data recorders which will capture important information from a car seconds before a crash.

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