The UK government’s plans to adopt the forthcoming EU introduction of mandatory factory speed limiters in cars. From 2022 all new cars will have speed limiters and black boxes to record everything you do. Feck me!! This concerns me on many levels, and not because I am a speed freak. I have a thirty-five year driving history free of convictions or accidents and I passed my IAM Advanced Driving Test over twenty-five years ago. So why should a safety conscious driver be worried about this proposal? Safe driving requires skill and judgment. The driving environment is dynamic and hazardous. Speed limits cannot change every few metres so blanket limits typically cover large areas. Within that limit area there may be places were a speed a little higher than the limit is safe and others were hazards dictate a speed much lower than the limit. Drivers should be allowed to respond to the environment and receive better training in risk assessment, hazard perception and situational awareness rather than dulling their attention by taking responsibilities away from them. Removing layers of control from the driver encourages laziness and lack of attention. The extreme example is fully automated cars where the ‘driver’ is charged with ‘monitoring’ what the car is doing. Scientifically, we are very bad at that and speed limiters in cars will encourage drivers to simply trust the limiter to decide the safe speed of travel. We don’t even know if it will work. We already have speed limited vehicles on the roads in the form of heavy goods vehicles and the bunching of them on motorways and blockages due to ‘elephant races’ is well known. We do not know what effect it would have on traffic patterns if all vehicles had limiters. Drivers would not have the flexibility to use higher speeds to move clear of bad traffic into more open road spaces. Yes, I know they have said that short bursts of speed will be permitted but they are only talking about a few seconds, it will be accompanied by a distracting audible warning and the power will be removed by the system at a time which may prove inappropriate or even dangerous. I also believe they will eventually remove this feature, only including it to aid acceptance. Part of this legislation is the inclusion of a ‘black box’ which tracks all of the car’s movements. Is this even legal?? When a young driver agrees to the fitting of a black box in order to lower his or her insurance premiums they do so voluntarily. How can it be legal to force everyone to carry a tracking device which allows the government to know your every move? Don’t we have laws which protect our privacy and rights to freedom? I believe it is indicative of the EU’s controlling mind-set that they sneak in this technically unnecessary feature which has worrying future implications. The introduction may change car buying habits and harm the car industry. Personally, I have no intention of buying a car with a speed limiter. It seems likely I will not be alone. It is possible that the current desire to have the newest car you can afford on your drive will change and running older cars will be the norm. In an extreme case, post-introduction car sales may fall off a cliff but it certainly seems inevitable that sales will suffer significantly. The bureaucratic obsession with speed is frankly depressing. While clearly a relevant factor in road safety, it is only one of them. The reason it is habitually targeted is that it is easy to measure. It can be measured by roadside machines or satellites and used for raising money. Accidents are not caused by speed, they are caused by bad decisions. I’ll give you a recent example. A few weeks ago I reported a dangerous driver to the police, who were in a position to take action because of my dash-cam footage. The driver was weaving dangerously through congested traffic on the M8 motorway like a video game as he impatiently tried to push ahead. He narrowly avoided causing a serious accident, but he was not exceeding the speed limit. We all know someone who has been convicted of speeding even if we have not. When was the last time you saw someone convicted of any other form of poor driving without it resulting in an accident? Further targeting of speed will do nothing to make drivers more attentive and responsible, it may well have the opposite effect, and why should the majority of safe drivers like me have to suffer draconian restriction because of the behaviour of a minority of idiots? If you want speed limiters, why not just fit them to their cars? You get a speeding ticket, you get a limiter? Why is that not a fairer idea and why would that not encourage more widespread compliance with speed limits without punishing everyone? I'll make a prediction right now. I think that in the first three years after introduction, accident rates will go up, not down. Bottom line is that unless there is a large showing of public outrage this is going to happen. Most people are too dull to understand the full implications and think it's a good thing. By the time we realise otherwise it will be too late. Please look into this and make as much noise about as you can. I hope it can be stopped.