back to article Motor quango thumbsup for satnav speed restrictions

A new report from an influential quango looking into the idea of satnav speed governors for cars has come out in favour of such plans. The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT), working with the Motorists' Forum, believes that useful safety gains and some carbon-emissions savings could be achieved by the use of the devices …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I can only assume another group

    proposing road changes who don't actually do any driving in the real world

  2. Richard Cartledge

    Goodbye freedom

    The real reason the government want this is because they want to be able to turn off our freedom of movement. Imagine one dark day in the future, you want to use your car more than ever before in your entire life to move you and your family somewhere safer. No. The Community Safe Speed Enforcement Team have put a 1mph limit on all cars as well as shutting down all public transport. This is in addition to disabling internet or mobile phone signals. All under the Prevention of Terrorism guise.

  3. The BigYin

    More draconian bullshit from Labour

    They will not be happy until they have us under the heel of the great machine.

    We do not need EVSC/ISA or whatever they are calling it now. We need or traffic police back, the uninsured/untaxed/unlicensed off our roads. The unsafe vehicles and loads impounded. We need the decent, honest, relatively safe driver left the hell alone. But there's not money (fines) in that is there? Oh no. Perish the thought of actually improving road safety.

    And how can it cut accidents by 29% when (according to the DfT) it is only responsible for about 3% or 7% (depends on which set of lies you choose to believe) of accidents?

    This sat nav system will also be used for road pricing and tracking you 100% of the time. It's the logical conclusion form Labour's policies (pseudo-voluntary ID cards, CCTV, DNA database, RFID Passports etc). All they can hear and see is "Kerr-ching!" and "Total control, all of the time".

    There is no escape from Labour - you will obey their machine (so vote for anyone else but Labour when/if you get the chance).

  4. nae

    wishful thinking (again)

    unless the sat nav has up to the minute pictures it wouldn't stop collisions in a 30 when pedestrians or cyclists where in the carriage way when the shouldn't be

    and the vast majority of speeders don't cause accidents otherwise there would be 10 million or so a week

  5. Nomen Publicus
    Thumb Down

    Oh Dear

    Does it work in tunnels and other areas of poor GPS reception?

    Will the government be the first to install Big Nanny in government vehicles.? Police cars?

    Who pays?

  6. John Latham

    Chinny chin chin

    Motorists' Forum. Chaired by Trevor Chinn, apparently chairman of the AA, ITIS and Vigilant Technology (according to wikipedia).

    "ITIS is a leading supplier of traffic and travel information"

    "Vigilant Technology is a worldwide leading provider of intelligent IP surveillance and security solutions".

    In the spirit of the season, may I just add "Jesus F***king Christ".

  7. Christopher
    Paris Hilton

    Will it tell lane hogs to bog off?

    Lane hoggers in the middle lane doing 50 MPH are a menace, especially the past few weeks. i personally travel at the speed limit and I do my best to ensure I am not hogging a lane, these systems will not address peoples bad manners and these people will continue to cause accidents as they often change lanes without ensuring it is safe to do so.

  8. NukEvil
    Paris Hilton


    What happens when your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, both equipped with this speed restriction technology, enter into a slower speed zone? Won't the car in front slow down before your car does? I'd hate like hell to rear-end someone else because their car thought they were going too fast...

    Paris, because I'm sure she likes being under someone else's control...

  9. Jack Harrer
    Thumb Down

    Oh please...

    Are they joking? So now everybody will need to travel at stupid 70mph on motorway? What a waste of time. Just go to Germany, where limits are quite strict: safe speed. So you go 140kmph (with all the traffic) without any problems. Often even more. But try doing something stupid and police will be on your back.

    Maybe it will be easier to just educate people instead of creating silly rules? Do as in Finland - fines are based on percentage of your earnings from last year. Have fun breaking a speed limit (by considerable amount) few times in the year... BTW: they don't use points on the licence, there's no need.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm for this with a couple of caveats

    Firstly, I think it should only apply to motorways. This is where it's most needed and most do-able. Paranoid types then have an alternative.

    Secondly, I think it should be accompanied by an increase in the speed limit. If we're going to create cars that know what the speed limit is, we can have a much more dynamic speed limit; most cars are safe in dry, high visibility conditions up to 80 or 90mph.

    You could even make it optional: fit a speed governor to your car and you can then go 90 under certain conditions. If you don't, the existing infrastructure is used to limit you to 70. I'd buy one.

  11. Paul Bottomley

    Clunk Click

    The manditory adoption of such a device would make all speed cameras, and mobile SAFETY camera vans obsolete in a single day, them being such a gravy train and all it just aint gona happen.

    If they are optional then that's never going to sell either, another stupid idea from another stupid quango (think tank), justifying their existence (I will go back to my Daily Mail now thanks!)

    Clunk the door closed, Click the switch to technology solving another problem that didnt exist.

  12. Big Dave

    If you damn people would all just stay in your houses

    Then there would be zero injuries on the roads!

    No, really, a pratnav limiter could work... assuming they got EDS or someone equally competant to produce it...

    I for one would love to have my safety and freedom in the hands of a low-bid government contract winner!

    Of course, for it to really work, we'd have to all have the same kind of cars to eliminate people accelerating faster than others, or perhaps just have some kind of brain implant limiter to make people all the same? Hmm.

  13. Gareth Jones Silver badge

    Oh really?

    And where will they get the data? Many satnavs already have a similar feature, but every one I've tried has massive holes in the database. Any oficially punted system would need to have 100% accuracy. Not only on day one but also for updates. Otherwise there will, no doubt, be a raft of court cases where drivers argue that their officially sanctioned speed limitter was responsible for their breaking the limit.

    Yes they could feature warnings that the system is only advisory and that drivers should still look out for signs, but any such warning would surely render the feature all but useless. If it is a safety system then it needs to be 100% reliable.

  14. Gulfie

    Oh, where to begin

    "Carbon emissions savings would be slim but definitely present" - is this before or after taking into account the emissions generated and other environmental damage caused in the making of the extra equipment? I don't believe anybody making this type of claim unless they can show that they have taken into account the total environmental cost.

    "The main benefit, according to the report's authors, would come in the form of fewer accidents" - I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand the reduction in speed will mean fewer high speed accidents and resultant casualties. On the other hand you have all those people who will simply stamp their foot on the floor and go as fast as the car will let them, thinking less about how they drive in the process, which will lead to different types of accident, but at slower speeds.

    Here's a better way to cut emissions, reduce congestion and accidents: Implement an integrated transport policy of which the core aim is to make local travel on busses, and train travel between stations, cheaper than doing the same journey in a car.

    First accept that people who can afford to, will buy and run a car - so don't include maintenance, tax and insurance in when calculating the cost of a journey by car because I've already made the decision to shoulder those costs come what may. Now provide cheaper or equivalent alternatives for local and long distance travel with regular services run to time and people will use them. I drive 300 miles to London and back each week - it costs me £40 in diesel for my car but £120 on the train at the same time of day, with the same journey time, so my choice is to use my car and pocket £80.

    So charge, for example, the equivalent of 20p a mile for local bus journeys, 10p a mile for rail journeys and 5p a mile for long distance coach services and people will start to use them instead of getting in their car. A return ticket to London for me would now come in at say £30 off peak. You could still charge a premium for first class, and peak time train/coach travel - say 30%-60% more - and it will still be attractive. I would happily pay £50 for a ticket that took me to London for 9am on a Monday and allowed me to leave at 6pm on a Friday.

    Oh, and get rid of all those stupid fares. Prices are calculated only on the distance between the start and end points of the journey. As for tickets, just do Single, Single (Peak), Return, Return (Peak). Singles/Outbound valid for 30 days, Returns valid for 90 days. Simplification reduces cost, waste, confusion and time. Per-mile rates are reviewed every six months and will never rise by more than the average inflation rate over the previous 12 months.

    But, as always, the Government answer is to find a way to take more money from us whilst ignoring the best solutions. Sigh. If this ever comes in it'll probably push me to moving into mainland Europe.

    Time to get my coat.

  15. James Woods

    An easy hack

    If this where to happen then the hacked software would be on available by torrent or e-bay within a very short period of time.

  16. HeavyLight
    Thumb Down

    Save us from (yet another) useless quango

    Somehow I just don't feel represented by the bigwigs of the "Motorists' Forum"...

  17. Alex Gollner
    Thumb Up

    If we all keep to the limits, we get a lolly

    How about increased speed limits on the motorway if the number of people going over 70mph reduces by more than 80%.

    Anyway, it only takes a third of motorists (with high insurance premiums, reasonable egos, those with a point left on their licenses) to have these governors to keep everyone else in check.

    Maybe we need to get organised and not need to speed, and get our thrills elsewhere...

  18. adnim

    Advisory system

    "It would be quite possible to build an "advisory" system, for instance, which would audibly or visually warn a driver when he or she was exceeding the local speed limit."

    My car already has one, OK it only provides visual cues and not audio ones. But it is right under my nose and the big red pointy thing swinging over the big white numbers is very easy to read. It even glows in the dark, providing I am using my lights, now how clever is that?

  19. Bassey

    Why is this not compulsory already

    I've always wondered why, in a country with a national speed limit of 70mph, it is not compulsory to have speed limiters fitted to limit all cars to 70mph. I mean, what justification is there for allowing the car to exceed the speed limit?

    I know people come up with all sorts of idiotic excuses like "what if I was overtaking and needed to go faster than 70?" but that is just the same retarded excuse the woman at the end of this piece gives. There are shit drivers who can't be relied upon not to drive responsibly so we should allow them to drive at ludicrous speeds. WTF? If you can't see far enough ahead to overtake safely within the speed limit, don't overtake. If the car in front is doing nearly 70 anyway, why do you want to overtake them.

    There just is no excuse that doesn't amount to "but what if I do something really stupid and need to break the law to get away with it". There are fucking idiots all over the place. The answer is not to let them drive. Not to let them drive at ludicrous speeds. It's like the excuses 30 years ago, before seatbelts were introduced. People would say "But what if I have an accident and get trapped in a burning car?". Nobody takes such arguments seriously today because it is accepted that seatbelts save thousands of lives a year. Yes, there may be a very rare instance when someone does get trapped but this is far outweighed by the greater good.

    Speed limiters WILL come in and, 20 years later, everyone will wonder a) what all the fuss was about and b) how people managed to keep a straight face when making arguments against it.

    People can sit there and argue until they are blue in the face that cars today can travel safely at high speed, that they are great drivers, that 70mph is an arbitrary limit. All of that MAY be true but, unless you expect everyone to sit a test in which THEIR speed limit in a particular car is determined then there needs to be an arbitrary limit. At the moment it's 70 so why have cars that can drive faster?

  20. Aldous
    Thumb Down

    heres an answer

    just buy an old car/motorbike (btw bikers have a great excuse "sorry officer while you were nicking speeders some scrote stole the sat nav of my bars ")

  21. r
    IT Angle

    Makes overtaking more dangerous

    Overtaking is hazardous so should be done as quickly as possible. If I decide to overtake a car travelling at, say, 25mph I'll accelerate to pass the vehicle and then reduce my speed appropriately *after* completing the manoeuvre. What I absolutely do NOT want to happen is for the speed-limiter to kick in at 30mph and thereby prolong my attempt at overtaking.

    Seems like a sure-fire way to increase the number of head-on collisions to me. I wonder what the insurance companies will make of it.

    Mine's the coat with a copy of the Highway Code in the pocket

  22. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    Sod off

    My car.


    Keep your mitts off. Besides which, cutting in and overruling the driver is dangerous.

    Not to mention the hideous prviacy implications of all this. I am a free englishman and I'll do as I damn well please. I am not beholden to the state to report or explain my behaviour at all times.

    Leave me alone, and for god's sake lets vote in a party with some respect for us at the next election.

  23. Mountford D

    Education is the key

    If the government and so-called "ex-spurts" are really interested in cutting accident rates then sensible and intelligent driving is surely and obviously the key (so obvious that you don't need spurts to explain that).

    Road vehicles are potentially lethal. An aviation pilot requires minimum qualifications and spend a good time training as a junior pilot. What does it take to obtain a driving license? Just a load of dosh for driving lessons and the tenacity to retake the driving test until you pass. Why not apply psychological, aptitude and intelligence tests, and if you don't pass, then you don't drive? If you must throw in a bit of technology, then how about a personal key that will only work in the vehicles that you are qualified to drive? Simple as that. Road kills and injuries will, as sure as a cast-iron guarantee, drop by a significant percentage.

  24. Cortland Richmond

    GPS was deaf, Judge, so I went a little fast

    I've a speed alarm on my existing GPS, but it does not pick up speeds posted. Would be convenient if it did, as some of us occasionally need to be reminded.

    But GPS only works so long as it sees satellites. Are trees a defence?

  25. Matt
    Thumb Down

    look out for bridges!!!

    imagine the scene... 'thumping' down the motorway at 70, you cross under a minor road all your wheels lockup as you 'enter' this 30 zone... and you kiss the windscreen!!!

    or... knowing that you cant do anything wrong, your crusing down the b-road, brick on the acelerator, revs bouncing off the limiter... you pass over said motorway and suddenly your doing 70! just in time for the obligatory speedcamera... as thats where they will now be positioned...

    instead of all this servelince crap, why doesnt the government just employ someone to follow everyone about to log and ensure that they are not getting upto no good or exercising their will to free thought... zero unemployment and total coverage of the populus...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Here is an idea...

    Just f**k off; c**ts.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How Other Countries Do It

    On my first visit to Singapore, I asked a friend (who had been there before) why all the taxis had a flashing blue light on top and a constantly ringing bell. I thought in my naivity that it was so customers could see that there was a taxi coming in order to flag it down.

    Alas, Singapore taxis were (and maybe still are) limited to 80 km/h and if they exceed that limit .... you guessed it .... the blue light flashes and the bell rings. So much for voluntary speed restriction.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    These things...

    ... would be utterly lethal on a motorbike.

  29. Sean Foreman

    Cheaper insurance?

    Well, if you opted to fit the system and could therefore prove you were driving within the speed limit at the time of an accident (and if the person who hit you couldn't do the same) it should make insurance claims far easier to handle, reducing costs, which could then be passed onto the consumer?? I doubt it!

  30. Christoph

    Be safer - use a messy, complicated control system that's guaranteed to break.

    All the cars running under automatic speed control, with the drivers paying no attention? Don't any of these idiots read comp.risks? There's all *sorts* of nasties just waiting to happen.

    Oh, and "many of the lives saved being those of pedestrians and cyclists". How about some really way out high tech, such as compulsory lights on bicycles so it's possible for car drivers to detect them?

  31. Joseph Gregory

    Lies, Damn Lies and Anti-car £orums

    So, a mandatory fitting of controlling speed limiters will save 29% of all injury accidents. Can anyone from the Anti-car Forum tell me how this would work.

    Road Casualties Great Britain, 2007 states that ALL road injury accidents, however caused, while exceeding the speed limit have an average of 6.5% of the total.

    Where did the 29% come from? If this had been a private company, claiming such fantasy figures would have seen bosses sitting in an 8 by 10 room with a steel door and a peephole.

  32. Richard Porter

    Safety gain?

    I'll tell you what. Pass a law requiring all motor vehicles to be preceeded by a person on foot carrying a red flag. That should reduce road deaths dramatically.

    But the government is giving all the wrong messages, in particular that the speed limit is the safe speed to drive at - which is of course nonsense. If you hit a pedestrian when doing 20mph it makes no difference to the pedestrian whether you are in a 30mph limit of a 60mph limit. Speed limits are arbitrary, in most cases fixed 24x7x52 and take no account of road conditions, weather, light or other road users (e.g. schools coming out). The speed limit bears no relationship to the safe speed at any given time or place.

  33. Ian Michael Gumby

    Interesting and while technically feasible, it will flop.

    There are really only two companies that make the map data for all of the sat nav systems.

    TeleAtlas which is owned by TomTom, and Navteq which in a couple of days will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Nokia*.

    One of the issues is that the map companies release their data once a qtr to their customers who then release the data on an annual basis to their customers which are the consumer. So if there is a speed change, not everyone would have it and it wouldn't be reliable. It is possible for these companies to make data available on a quarterly basis, however the onus of downloading the updates falls to the driver.

    A larger problem is the accuracy of the hardware. Depending on the kit, the accuracy of the position and speed will be influenced on the number of sats and the accuracy of the clocks in the system. Lets not talk about the changes in the atmosphere or sun spots since we're not trying to get down to the centimeter accuracy.

    If the concept is to create a method of enforcing speed on the highways, there are other technologies that can be used in conjunction with sat nav, or as a replacement.

    Some of the Sat Nav systems incorporate an FM receiver to pick up traffic information. The same system could also broadcast route information and speed limits. This could be flexible enough to allow for speed zone changes based on the time of day or volume of traffic. Add to this the possibility of positioning rare earth magnets in the road and you *can* create a system that could use a sensor to determine your vehicles speed as well as align the center of the car to the center of the road. (Even this system will have issues too.)

    So in theory, we could develop a system that could be used to help steer, and maintain speed on the roads. But it will flop. Real life has things like road debris, heavy traffic and the drivers do not drive uniformly. (Do I need to remind everyone about the Asian driver jokes that are told in California.)

    Also another big reason. Part of the enjoyment of driving is being in control of your car. ;-)

    * Navteq is owned by Nokia, but the transition is not yet complete.

  34. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Anyone else...

    ...get the feeling that the government wants the UK taken back medieval times? You can't communicate with anyone that you can't physically see. You can't go anywhere. You won't have any money. You will have no rights at all. Now peasant, get back out in the field and get those turnips in that bag!

  35. Gulfie


    If you wish to live in a big brother state go ahead. No reason to turn the country I love into one just because you want all cars limited to 70. Limit your own car by all means, but don't expect your narrow-minded and unsupported argument to cut any ice with the rest of us. We don't want it. Of course, you might be the kind of person who would issue a speeding ticket to everybody doing 71mph on an empty motorway.

    Many people feel the need to speed, particularly on motorways, partly because of the hectic lives we lead (we are the hardest worked in Europe) and the fact that there is so much congestion, so speeding on motorways in particular is a way of getting that time back. I drive 150 miles all on motorways each Monday morning (5am) and Friday afternoon (4pm) and a journey that should take about 2 hours 15 usually takes at least 3 hours. Including some speeding that you so loathe. Put an integrated transport policy in place that encourages people onto alternative transport and things will get better.

    I for one value my freedoms such as they are and resent any unnecessary intrusions into them.

    BTW if you'd like a 'proper' discussion about the issues around integrated transport et al, rather than simply posting a 'thou shalt follow the letter of the law' then feel free to post a constructive and well-argued response. I have been deliberately provocative because rather than discuss the pros and cons of the proposal, or the current speed limits, you've just supplied a knee-jerk reaction to other people's comments.

    PS even the Police use their judgement when deciding whether to pull somebody over for speeding, so the 'limit' you love so much is viewed by them as a guidline in the first instance and a rule in the second. Regardless of what it actually is. Oh, and your speedo is only 5% accurate at the best of times, so you could be doing 70 indicated but 73/74 in practice.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Control Freaks

    We've all imagined the future where you enter the Motorway on-ramp and your voice command activates "auto-drive", which safely drives you at optimum speed and with ultimate precision, until you leave the Motorway again. That is the kind of speed control I could live with and even enjoy.

    But plain *limited* speed without any of the benefits? What kind of sick and twisted future are we letting ourselves in for? And the Leeds Uni report looks completely contrived to me. NuLab have let the power go to their heads ... they're control freaks and they must be stopped.

  37. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Let the insurers decide

    Unlike government and various lobbies, if insurers get the risk wrong, they lose pots of cash in claims. Unsurprisingly, they tend to have a far better record of judging whether particular gizmos actually make cars safer. Let them review the stats and if those drivers who fit mandatory governors have better accident records (and being a self-selecting group, they just might) then they can enjoy the lower premiums.

  38. Gulfie

    @Ian Michael Gumby

    Ian - I think you had a type in the line "Part of the enjoyment of driving is being in control of your car". I think it should more correctly read "Most if not all of the enjoyment of driving is being in control of your car".

    Off to drive a Lotus Exige at Silverstone next month. All of the enjoyment on that day will be from being in control...

  39. Rob

    A number of solutions

    What with rising unemployment, we could re-train and re-employ all the wankers, sorry I meant bankers and poor retail staff to walk in front of our cars with red flags. A clear indicator the car is moving and also will restrict the speed, doesn't need any expensive technological infrastructure either, I don't know why anyone hasn't thought of this before.

    Any coat you like as long as it's black.

  40. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    To all of those dissing this idea - SHUT UP!

    No, really! You see, satnav signals are very weak, all you would have to do is wrap the antena in aluminium foil and - bingo! - you are always doing 0mph on your drive! Perfect if the clots want to use this for road toll purposes. If they get suspicious, use a fake satnav signal, all you would need is a low-powered transmitter to swamp the weak satellite signals and you can tell the limiter you are wherever you want to be. Such kit is already used by hijackers in the States to steal satnav tracked trucks and cars and details are all over the web.

    So be quiet and let the twits implement this, and then we can all get back to driving how we like!

  41. Michael

    IF you can read this sticker

    "If you can read this bumper sticker, your not tailgating - your drafting!"

    If this thing does the same stunt that restrictor plates do for NASCAR on the big ovals - I can see alot more clumps of cars banding together as they cant overtake as much... bigger crashes will result when it all goes wrong!

    A simpler thing to do would place a mechanical limiter on all cars at 70-90mph.. And GPS limiter on all new UK cars from 2010 for areas with 20/30mph limits. Anything else the police can look after?

    So there is less clumping of traffic on the dual carriageways and motorways at 70mph. If you surpase 70mph for more than 5 secs. You get blasted with warnings from the incar stereo...

  42. glenn
    Thumb Down

    What a load of horse shite!

    Speed limiters will not stop a single dangerous driving act committed below the speed limit.

    The speed limit database would cost a packet to compile (as already mentioned, the current info supplied by Navteq and Tele Atlas for sat navs is far from complete - even for some main roads) It would need to be live, up to the minute info to be able to react to temporary speed limits in place due to road works, bad weather and non speed related accidents.

    Will having one installed automatically indemnify the driver against any form of speeding penalty, as technically it wouldn't be possible? Will it fuck!!!

    What's the point if it's voluntary, unlikely to be guaranteed to be flawless and will cost the taxpaying motorist a shed load to achieve practically nothing at all.

    The reality is that we need more traffic coppers on the roads if we are to make them safer.

    The big brother technology is not capable of detecting the the worst drivers (the ones who ignore every road marking, disregard the road conditions, overtake on blind corners, tailgate etc, etc) and it is not capable of intercepting a single one of them in the act either.

  43. Columbus

    Off road?

    How fast will you be able to go on school playing fields, pedestrian shopping centres, green lanes?

    I see a new sport, find out where the satnav speed limiter does not work.

    failing that, I see a lot of new cars wearing tinfoil hats...

  44. ElFatbob


    Is there no end to this governments bawbaggery?

    This has SFA to do with safety or carbon. It has everything to do with tracking people's movements and charging as much as possible for the privilege of using the roads, which we already pay for through fuel duty, vat on said duty, VED and council tax.

  45. Oninoshiko

    why this won't fly (or drive, as it were)

    Wouldn't this result in less fines?

    Somehow I think those offended by this proposal need to slow down abit. I see this going nowhere..

    The accountant logo...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GPS for pedestrians, cyclists, horses etc?

    So I'm doing less than the speed limit when some stupid idiot child decides it is perfectly acceptable behaviour to cycle across a pelican crossing ('traffic-light' controlled system for alll the non-Brit readers) right in front of me. What happens? How dcopuld a GPS-controlled speed limiter help save this stupid girl from becoming another statistic and a greasy smear on the road?

    Driver education (slow down when approaching pedestrian crossings with bushes alongside, always drive as though some fool will move in front of you without looking, it is a limit and *not* a TARGET) is better.

    Teaching people road sense even if they do not drive is not only a good idea - it is literally a life-saver. Less time spent blaming motorists for every accident involving a car and more education for anyone who uses the road would help.

    One of the guys I went to college with even got done when some drunk cyclist crashed into his parked (engine off but driver and pax sat inside) car. Dumb copper couldn't quite grasp the idea that maybe the cyclist hit the car rather than the car hit the bike...

  47. Dazed and Confused

    Speed limiters and safety

    I sometimes wonder how many people these government type quangos are happy to murder^H^H^H^H^H^H sacrifice to their politically correct mantra of speed kills. They seem to have absolutely no notion of human behaviour or how to drive. There are all kinds of reasons why forcing everyone to drive at the same speed would cause carnage on our roads on a scale never seen before. Some of the reasons include.

    Boredom. If you stop people from having to concentrate when they drive they will naturally enough stop concentrating while they are driving. You think that nutters sending txts while driving are bad enough, with this you'll end up with the situation you used to get in the US with the rigid 55MPH enforcement and everyone having cruise control. You used to see people driving down the freeway reading the paper.

    Inappropriate speed. We have enough of this already thanks, the drivers who currently do 40 everywhere, in the outside lane of dual carriage ways and outside schools at kicking out time. Well if we have Satellite controlled speed limits on the Motorway...etc. you'll have even more nut jobs doing 70 in thick fog. Why, because they've never had to think about the speed they are travelling at and so they will have no idea of how to think about an appropriate speed.

    Overtaking, if one car is travelling at slightly less than the speed limit and the car behind pulls out to overtake they will take much longer to do so. Also what happens when the car being overtaken speeds up? Most people do speed up while being overtaken. Even on multi-lane roads it is dangerous to have all the lanes travelling at the same speed as when people do pull out to overtake slower moving traffic they expect to overtake and pull back in (to their comfort zone) if they are stuck in a lane unable to pull back in they aren't likely to be concentrating on what is happening in front of them.

    Pulling in to turn off. If you are in lane 2 or 3 and approaching your turning, you need to be able to safely manoeuvre to lane 1. Slowing in the outside lanes is dangerous, undertaking in most countries is illegal. If you indicate you want to come in what are the chances of the people inside you slowing to let you? Currently this manoeuvre is performed by accelerating till you are in front of the car in lane inside of you.

    Then of course we have the biggy. The reason which will cause more deaths on the road than all the drunks have ever managed.

    Currently there are millions of drivers licensed to drive on our roads who have grown up knowing that there are three tools available to the driver to avoid danger.

    1) The brakes, slow down and if necessary stop.

    2) The steering wheel, go around the problem.

    3) The accelerator, get in front of the problem.

    As an example of this, image a situation where you are in lane 2 of the motorway and you notice the car inside you is drifting out and is likely to run into your near side.

    1) You brake, they come out in front of you. You are likely to be too close behind them and so you need to slow further. In busy traffic situations this causes shock waves, which apart from being a CO2 night mare is also a major cause of multiple pileups on our motorway network. So here braking really can kill.

    2) You steer out into lane 3, if it exists and if it is clear.

    3) You gently squeeze the accelerator and complete your over taking manoeuvre safely, again assuming that there is space in front of you.

    So how many road users do these "safety" quagoites really want to kill?

    There are lots of other situations where allowing humans to use their judgement is much the safest thing to do, but these are heard to legislate for.

    If they really want to improve the safety of our road system they could put more police out on the roads and measure them on road safety not arrests per officer mile. But of course that would cost them money wouldn't it.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Ask a lorry driver

    HGVs have been physically restricted to 56mph for many years now. Ask a lorry driver what he thinks of the restrictors, or indeed observe the lorry traffic the next time youre out and about.

    The limiter results in the accelerator being treated almost as a switch, 'ON' or 'OFF'. There's good evidence that such restrictors reduce the attention that drivers give to the road, especially when more of the other vehicles are fitted with them also. They result in an 'automatic convoy', where all the drivers have to do is steer and then the mind inevitably wanders.

    Very very bad idea; if that comes in for all cars (or even just 'new' cars) I will most likely emigrate.

  49. Stewart Haywood
    Dead Vulture


    A little while ago, an aircraft in Australia decided that it was flying at the wrong altitude and splattered the passengers all over the ceiling. Now, aircraft systems tend to be engineered to slightly higher standards than the average car. So how long would it be before a car decided that it needed to slow from 70 to 30 on a crowded motorway?

    A tombstone is the obvious result..

  50. Stuart Halliday

    What will the Motor Trade do?

    If speed limiters are put in place then what will all those speed-boys buying BMWs and other fast cars going to do? I'm sure they don't buy a these types of cars to just look good.

    I look forward to the day when idiots on the roads are stopped from trying to get to their destination 30 seconds earlier.

  51. Richard Silver badge

    Have they ever driven on a motorway at night?

    Motorways at night are full of long trails of HGVs sat at their limiter speeds.

    All limiters are not exactly the same, so you see the trails of HGVs using lanes 1 and 2 as an HGV whose limiter is set to 56.1mph overtakes another HGV whose limiter is set to 55.9mph.

    This takes a very long time.

    And it's a horrible mess, because it limits all other vehicles to lane 3 - even if they don't want to be there - because it's the only way to pass them. No car driver wants to be sat behind or next to an HGV for any longer than necessary - if that vehicle has an issue for whatever reason, you will probably die because the trailer is not easily predictable.

    - Ignoring all the HGV drivers who have gone into a stupor due to being sat at the limiter for hours.

    Do the same to cars, and you'll see the same thing happen - some limiters will kick in at 71mph, others at 69. You already see this in a 'manual' form - according to my satnav, my car's speedo reads 70mph when I'm actually doing 66mph, so I'm probably annoying the drivers whose speedo is more accurate.

    If they are intent on a hard limit, that limit must be considerably higher than the speed limit.

    This means drivers aren't forced into convoy or slow overtaking, and they also don't sit at the limiter.

  52. Graham Marsden

    I have Sat Nav on my bike...

    ... and I can set it to give me a *warning* if I am exceeding the limit. I sure as hell would never let anything over-ride my control of the bike, nor, if I am in the middle of an overtake, would I want to have to worry about pressing a button to stop it happening.

    As for Bassey's "why let vehicles go faster than 70", obviously he's never seen a "Crawler Race" where you have one HGV with its limiter set 2mph faster than the one it's trying to pass. Naturally the trucker being passed isn't going to back off ("why the hell should I?!"), so you have an overtake manoeuvre which goes on for a couple of miles.

    Now imagine that you're trying to pass one of those trucks on a dual carriageway, but you can only do it at 70mph and that "end of dual carriageway" that was a mile or so off is coming rapidly closer... does that sound like a recipe for safety??

  53. Anonymous Coward


    Grrrr, grrrr, vrooom, vrooom, vroooom

    If all these cuntroltards were dead, imagine the savings in carbon emissions. Apart from the other noxious fumes these fartheads generate.

    That's the second post of mine in a week advocating a premature end to "figures in authority" or "people I don't like".

    Mine's the orange boiler suit.

  54. Winkypop Silver badge

    Is there an empty island somehwhere?

    We could send all the nanny-numpties to live there. The rest of us could then live like we used to, mostly carefree. Remember that?

    The inhabitants of Numpty Island would then be free to regulate themselves into extinction!

    - No running with scissors

    - No Internet

    - No nasty cars

    - CCTV on every palm tree!

    - Regular "save the kiddies" rallys

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Thanks but no.

    My car has had two major electronic meltdowns of it's own accord, both of which were caused by the engine management gateway computer falling over... I can't wait to see how much safer and more reliable everything is under the overall control of a government IT system. I think I'd rather ride a bicycle!

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    when to speed

    when in a tunnel, in built up areas and especially around tall buildings ie city of london where you barely get a GPS signal. Lets recap. open roads it limits you, built up populated areas you could get away with driving like a bat out of hell!!

  57. Dazed and Confused

    Rather ride a bicycle?

    Sorry AC, but on many roads in the country bicycles are capable of exceeding the speed limit. The road Nazis would therefore insist that all bicycles would also have to have speed limiters installed. They would take what is the most efficient machine known and insist that it had a GPS system installed, complete with SatNav system with accurate maps on the entire country to know the speed limits, a 3G phone system to make sure it could pick up information about any temporary or variable speed limits in real time. No more simple cable operated brakes for you my son, you'll need a computer controlled braking system so the Onboard Nanny System (ONS) can slow you down if there is any chance you might exceed the speed limit. Of course since both GPS and GSM systems are fallible it would be necessary to have the ONS apply maximum braking effort if there is any loss of signal or if it detects that you have entered a zone with no know speed limit.

    While they are at it, all future bikes must have seat belts and air bags installed. They must be able to withstand a 40MPH collision with a lorry without the rider being injured while also being able to hit a pedestrian at 40MPH without cause them any injury.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Foreign Trucks?

    So what happens when the limiter in my car decides that as I'm coming into town that I have to slow down but the Polish truck driver behind me who is in Zombie mode and doesn't have a limiter decides NOT to slow down? I can't even look in my rear view mirror, crap my pants,and slam the accelerator down to get out of the way, instead I die horribly.

    There are often occasions when the only way to avoid an accident is to temporarily exceed the speed limit, not because you are being reckless, but because accelerating out of the way is much safer than attempting to stop. I look forward to the first law suit for an accident where the limiter can be shown to be directly responsible for stopping the driver from performing a life saving move.

  59. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Electronic car systems

    Anyone remember about 2 years ago a guy in France had the cruise control system lock up on him at 70mph and it took about 60 mins of the Police having to clear a path down the motorway until the system unfroze and let him have control back. He couldn't pull the key out as the system had an electronic PIN locking system with no key.

    Of course we know the UK gov would give the contract to the most respected and honest contractor, not the cheapest who would cut corners?!

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correlation is not causation

    So allegedly many accidents occur because people drive at speeds that exceed the limit. So we force the limit down all drivers in all situations.

    Guess what, the same idiots that were causing accidents at excessive speeds will now cause accidents, only below (or at!) the limit.

    Guess what else, unfortunately you cannot outlaw stupidity - else we would be left with very few politicians.

  61. Jason Bartlett

    @ I'm for this with a couple of caveats

    I agree with you, should the correct caveats be in place it could be super, only on main dual carriageways and Motorwarys.

    Why bother with a limit of 90? IF (the major word here) the system was well enough designed you could be happly motoring along 150+ bumper to bumper, the system would know when you need to turn off, and be able to juggle this fast moving traffic accordingly, provided its not run on micysoft of course. (sorry Im late the m40 got the blue screen of death again)

    No more big boy exhausts or shopping trolley handles, it would be who can persuade/hack the transport system to allow them to overtake everyone else.

    Would it be safe? of course you would as it would illiminate the stupid people. There are in this world stupid people, the ones that need warnings that a bag of peanuts may contain nuts etc etc.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    A few problems

    Reduced fuel consumption means less money in collectable tax.

    Also, a mechanism in the vehicle which has the last word in the engine control could result in the police having a remote control system that could instruct a target vehicle to stop.

    There will be a black market in circumvention systems which fool the GPS receiver in to thinking it is permanently on the E40.

    There will be no control over vehicles from abroad.

    As an ex-truck driver, I know the truth behind being lulled to sleep while permanently facing the read end of someone elses vehicle and engaging in the overtaking games that take place when vehicle weight uphill decides the ultimate faster vehicle.

    Whatever idiot is responsible for this should be made to work for a month in a truck with a limiter attached ... driving in a community of other vehicles which have limiters attached. Then if they still think it is a good idea ... shoot them.

  63. Steve

    1/3 LIE B U L L S H I T

    "They said that 100 per cent adoption of mandatory speed governors would cut injury crashes by 29 per cent"

    Yet the Stats19 reports clearly state that only 5% of all accidents involve a driver exceeding the limit (and that also includes joyriders, police pursuits and those who don't have correct documentation - the very people who won't be affected by this anyway) so how can this policy reduce such accidents by 29%?

    It can't!

    They are misrepresenting datasets for their own selfish ends – they always have (e.g. speed cameras and RTTM / bias on selection). These people haven't even accounted for the inevitable 'lead foot zombies' (those who will inevitably become accustomed to using the limiter as their only guide for speed) - what could be more dangerous than eroding this critical driving skill?

    “Government costs … would also be recouped”

    How will they recoup the lost revenue from speed cameras and the supposed fuel duty savings? Oh wait, that’s been answered: back door to tolls!

    [And if they're really worried about CO2 emissions then can we have our limit-reduced roads returned back to NSL? (for the morons: this does not mean drivers will have to drive at 60) 30/40 mph usually can't be done efficiently in top gear]

    Don't get me wrong: speed limits are necessary and need to be enforced, but the limits have to be set correctly first.

    Safespeed member

  64. Mark
    Thumb Down


    How long until we all have to succumb to the thought police?

  65. Steve

    @ Bassey

    “At the moment it's 70 so why have cars that can drive faster?”

    That’s an unfair question. At the moment, cars and drivers can safely handle faster than 70, so why limit to 70? Please don’t strawman by interpreting that as meaning ‘lets get rid of the limit’. Why can’t we have time-variable limits like other EU countries?

    Fact: did you know that 19% (conservative figure) of all motorways crashes are sleep related? (yes that includes the daytime drivers)? This portion obviously increases to 29 - 45% during the small hours (M20, M25, M6) [source: “Road Safety Research Report No. 52, Sleep-Related Crashes on Sections of Different Road Types in the UK (1995–2001)”]. This portion is obviously MUCH greater than those who are involved in accidents that were in excess of the limit. All else equal: forcing motorway drivers to go slower still (meaning less stimulation for a longer time - a double whammy!!) would almost certainly end up worsening the overall accident rate.

    Safespeed members understand how road safety is more than simply targeting around a simply number.

  66. Anonymous Coward


    What speed would you drive at in Germany where" the autobahns in Germany are not subject to an overall speed limit ?" (

  67. Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bryant

    Good point. The format of GPS signals is published, and the real GPS signals are very weak indeed. Futhermore, GPS satellite constellation simulators are commercially available and could also be built at low cost. This would allow someone suitably motivated to overpower the GPS signals with falsified ones, either just in the vicinity of his own car, or over a range of a few miles' radius. This could (a) allow his own car to speed whenever desired, and (b) allow, for example, all of the cars on a few mile stretch of motorway to suddenly believe themselves to be located in a sleepy village or a car park, with a 10mph speed limit.

    Given that the EU in general and the UK government in particular is very keen on keeping a record of the movements of its citizens, (for their own good of course, since sitizens so rarely know what is good for themselves), I would expect the Galileo satellites to transmit some signals which are encrypted in a way that would make it difficult for the average citizen to spoof the signal and thereby make his car think he was being a good little consumer going to the right places.

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