The Battle Against Excessive Speed Is Approaching the Shores of America, and the Stand Against It Must Commence

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By Car Brand Experts


Key Highlights

  • Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) signifies a technology aimed at curbing accidents caused by speeding by imposing speed limits on vehicles, now mandated across Europe.
  • The rollout of such systems is imprudent and breaches privacy rights, leading to a myriad of ethical challenges.
  • Studies have verified that advanced driver assistance systems make drivers less vigilant instead of safer.
  • The European enforcement of ISA will have worldwide repercussions that need immediate attention.


There have been troubling reports from across the Atlantic this week: the UK and the European Union are on the verge of introducing an innovative feature called Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA). Under the European Road Safety Charter, within a week, all new cars sold in European Union countries and the UK must be equipped with this technology. The involved nations are so determined in expediting the implementation of ISA that unsold cars at dealerships will be retrofitted with the system. Unlike previous speed governing mechanisms, the ISA has provided automakers with limited options on the functionalities. These include a progressive acoustic warning, a gradual vibrating alert, haptic feedback via the accelerator pedal, and a speed regulating function. For the first time, your vehicle will be capable of self-decelerating and engaging in a discourse with you regarding speeding.


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One of the proposed solutions in the charter involves the haptic feedback mechanism installed on the accelerator pedal. The charter explicitly mentions that the pedal will commence vibrating and ultimately resisting the pressure exerted by the driver’s foot. In case of non-compliance, the cruise ISA will autonomously decelerate the vehicle by reducing power, as braking use is restricted. The UK and the EU argue that this is not a feature of an overly protective state as drivers can deactivate it. However, they are prompt to mention that the system will automatically reactivate once turned off.

At this point, you may question why the United States should be interested. There exists a plethora of reasons, all of which we will elaborate on in this narrative. Yet, before delving deeper into the matter, it is essential to acknowledge that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has issued a statement endorsing the introduction of ISA to the USA and conducted research on the favored alert system among Americans.



Why ISA Is a Leap Beyond Reason

Automotive manufacturers have introduced a range of safety devices that intervene in the driving process; thus, ISA is not an entirely novel concept. The primary pitch here is that ISA would lead to reduced driving speeds, ultimately yielding a decrease in fatalities. Another positive aspect highlighted by authorities is that drivers no longer need to actively search for speed limit signs. ISA incorporates road sign recognition and is linked to a GPS system that furnishes precise speed limit information. According to government statements, this signifies one less task for the driver, enabling them to concentrate on the road ahead. While this may seem favorable in theory, there are several arguments against this ideology.


  • Evidence suggests that advanced driver aids lead to driver complacency and distraction. Merely removing a feature does not ensure increased driver focus. In today’s world, individuals readily engage Level 2 autonomous systems and may even retreat to the rear seats, despite Level 2 necessitating driver attention and intervention.
  • The European Commission acknowledges that people might excessively rely on technology, dismissing rational thinking. In an event of system error, if the display suddenly reads 60 mph as permissible speed in a residential zone, the driver may unquestioningly proceed. While one may assume common sense prevails, we live in an age where individuals drove straight into bodies of water because their GPS instructed them to do so.
  • Only vehicles sold post 7th July mandate this technology, resulting in a marginal divide between equipped and unequipped cars. Over time, this will shift, potentially leading to situations where drivers comfortably cruise at 60 mph in the fast lane solely based on the car’s directives. Can you envision the road rage this could provoke? It’s a recipe for conflict on the roads.


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Alternate Approaches to Bypass the ISA

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While authorities permit overrides to the system, it necessitates manual disablement upon every vehicle start. Given the prevalent touchscreen era, manufacturers unlikely simplify this process. A potential solution involves disconnecting the fuse, yet what if this function integrates into the car’s permanent system eventually? Would you still pursue this action if it deactivates vital safety features like ABS and traction control, potentially impacting insurance claims? Will manufacturers honor warranties if crucial safety elements remain inactive?


However, a prevalent concern among many is the underlying issue with this system. Despite potential deactivation, there may be continuous monitoring by the vehicle, possibly storing all infractions. This situation could pose problems if law enforcement accesses this data without a warrant. Unfortunately, most automakers reveal data without warrant upon police request, as seen in cases like automakers willingly sharing personal vehicular data.

Apart from law enforcement concerns, there’s a substantial apprehension regarding automotive insurance implications. Insurers have a significant incentive to incorporate such systems as it potentially absolves them from repair or write-off costs, utilizing past behavior as leverage to avoid payouts, even in scenarios where the policyholder bears no fault in the claim incident.

Potential Applications

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Label it as a conspiracy hypothesis if necessary, but exploration on Intelligent Velocity Adaptation commenced as early as 2007. One of the initial investigations delved into the notion of a Pay As You Speed arrangement, where the ISA mechanism would monitor the vehicle and automatically deduct any fines. Conversely, if the drivers operated carefully, they would receive a 30% reduction on their insurance premium. How about simply remitting my insurance premium, and everyone departs me alone?

Ultimately, the ISA encroaches not solely on the privilege to solitude but also on the capability to take risks and savor the freedom enthusiasts sense when they step into the driver’s seat of their automobile.


Why You Ought to Be Alarmed

The automotive sector is global, and significant shifts like this commonly have repercussions. The expansion of the touchscreen user interface serves as a prime instance, and with the USA being the world’s second-largest automotive market, it played a substantial role. Rearview cameras became obligatory in 2018, yet car manufacturers were well aware in advance that it was inevitable. In foresight of this, the surge in standard touchscreen interface adoption commenced in 2015. Presently, it is more cost-effective to integrate a digital instrument cluster and touchscreen layout in a vehicle. In reality, certain cars marketed in developing countries possess a touchscreen interface, although they lack an airbag and ABS.

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At a specific juncture, it becomes more economical to include a feature in a car than to manufacture thousands without it. If the expense is sufficiently low, it will be transferred to the consumer. This is probable to unfold, and automobiles imported from Europe will probably arrive with this system as customary.


It will be intriguing to observe the actions of major exporters like BMW. A large portion of its SUVs originate from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and it will need to adhere to UK and EU directives. Will the models destined for the U.S. be disregarded? Keep in mind that when the sales of new cars in the UK, Germany, and France are combined, Europe still stands as the third most extensive market globally after China and the United States. Additionally, bear in mind that the European Union comprises 27 countries, and each car exported to these nations must conform. Essentially, this technology is expected to have a worldwide impact.

Why Exceeding the Speed Limit Is (Not) Hazardous

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Excessive velocity has always stood as the quintessential representation of inadequate motoring conduct. “The act of speeding leads to more than a quarter of all fatalities resulting from collisions annually, amounting to over 12,000 casualties lost in 2021,” voiced Jessica Cicchino, IIHS’s research vice president. “Integrated vehicular technologies can form a crucial segment of the resolution.”


My primary concern is the absence of a clear definition for speeding. It fundamentally implies traversing beyond the designated speed limit, which may vary from one mile per hour to 35 mph. Velocity, in isolation, possesses no fatal potential. It necessitates amalgamation with other factors such as perilous or intoxicated driving, lack of experience, distraction, fatigue, or aggressiveness in driving. Fundamentally, the principal cause of a collision does not solely result from speeding but rather other contributing factors. Allow me to elucidate through scrutinizing two scenarios utilizing the typical arguments against speeding: response times and a vehicle’s incapacity to endure driving conditions.




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In the initial scenario, we encounter Chad, the recent recipient of a brand-new Porsche 911. He careens through the mountains, encounters a concealed sharp left turn, and abruptly finds himself tailing a sluggish vehicle. Despite the formidable braking capabilities of the 911, Chad fails to decelerate in time, resulting in a collision with the rear of a hypothetical Mitsubishi Mirage, instantaneously claiming all lives involved.


In the subsequent portrayal, Stacy occupies a new Cadillac Escalade-V, hurtling down the interstate at 90 mph amidst a tumultuous storm, justifying her velocity due to the vehicle’s all-wheel-drive attributes. Upon encountering pooled water, the treads of the road-biased tires fill, propelling Stacy into a state of aquaplaning with no traction, leading to a vehicular spin-off, rollover, and fatal outcome.




In both scenarios, speed exerted a notable influence, yet failed to serve as the primary cause of the collision. Chad succumbed due to his reckless behavior, careening into an unseen corner without prior knowledge of its layout. Stacy embodied a fusion of novice driving skills, coupled with a hint of imprudence. Can you now perceive how speed, in conjunction with other factors, proves lethal?


Driving Too Slowly Can Also Be Lethal

Contrary to popular belief, driving too slowly can also lead to fatal accidents. The paramount reason speeding is deemed hazardous is the relative velocity disparity between colliding entities that heightens fatality risks. Consequently, a considerable discrepancy in speed increases the likelihood of dire consequences in an accident. This is why maintaining a much faster speed compared to others poses a greater danger on the road.

richer constructs around you, a crash is more apt to lead to fatalities. But picture this scenario: on a road segment, 99 out of 100 individuals adhere to the 80 mph speed limit, while one driver opts for 20 mph. Any collision in this setting between the vehicles going at the same pace and the single car moving too slowly will end tragically, with the blame not falling on the swift cars.


Roger Biermann - Automotive Journalist
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Expert Opinion

Velocity doesn’t directly lead to fatalities, despite being a catchy phrase for billboards and easy on the ears. The message should emphasize that “Distinct speeds of colliding objects heighten the forces affecting vehicle occupants, thereby escalating the risk of severe harm or death.” This critical lesson isn’t receiving enough emphasis. Driving excessively slowly can be just as perilous as speeding in certain circumstances.

This is why, in Germany, a nation with segments of unrestricted highways, road accidents aren’t merely classified as “speeding” or “excessive speed.” Instead, they are categorized as “inappropriate speed,” denoting driving at an unsuitable speed for a specific situation. Even then, Germany encounters more accidents caused by inadequate following distances, failure to yield to the right of way, or entering/leaving a roadway at an unsuitable juncture.

Reasons Behind Enforcing Speeding Regulations

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Does this mean that enforcing speed limits is unnecessary? Absolutely not. Humans typically conform to an implicit social agreement. You don’t require the government to inform you that murder is wrong because societal norms express this clearly. Similarly, common sense dictates that most car enthusiasts refrain from speeding in residential zones. Whenever there’s even a slight chance of a child dashing onto the road, you slow down enough to allow your car to halt swiftly. This should be apparent to any rational individual, yet a small segment of society persists in speeding at 60 mph through the suburbs.

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The situation is similar on the highway, where proper management is imperative. Some individuals comply with the set speed limit, while others desire greater speed, resulting in discord due to a lack of lane discipline. This is why the autobahn in Germany functions efficiently: there’s mutual respect among drivers and a clear precedence among vehicles. A driver in a Golf GTI yields to a BMW

The M3 operator commands respect as the ruler of the road, while everyone graciously clears a path for the illustrious 911 Turbo.


Due to a lack of comprehension regarding driving etiquettes among individuals, the responsibility falls upon the government to regulate the process. However, the implementation of ISA may be considered excessive as it could significantly impact the lives of those who comprehend that possessing a license is a privilege and not an entitlement, entailing substantial responsibilities.

What Motivates Excessive Speeding?

The proclivity for speeding is inherent in human nature, fueled by the allure of perceived thrill. The key lies in striking a delicate balance between risk-taking and thoughtless behavior, a feat that most enthusiasts manage adeptly. One does not recklessly charge into blind corners, gun a Tesla Model S Plaid in residential areas, or execute a flashy Mustang maneuver at a car gathering, as such actions can lead to personal harm and unwanted online attention. This irresponsible conduct is frowned upon by the majority of enthusiasts. The primary objective is to enjoy our vehicles as intended, exercising prudence to gauge the appropriateness of our actions under given circumstances. Would I deliberately fishtail an M3 near a school? Certainly not. Would I attempt to achieve a high score on the Drift Analyzer in a secluded area, devoid of bystanders, with negligible risk to myself and a few roadside shrubs? Absolutely.


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While not advocating for complete anarchy on the roads, the imposition of a system that intervenes in my driving, necessitating manual overrides each time, is a step too intrusive. The concept of a vehicle being fully aware of my location and prescribed speed limit is overly invasive. Adherents of this technology may argue that obeying the law eliminates concerns, but the core issue is much deeper. Freedom encompasses not just the liberty to express oneself without infringing on others’ rights but also the expectation of certain liberties when approached with sound judgment. Countless anecdotes online detail instances where people avoided fines because both the law enforcement officer and the driver exercised common sense. An ISA, on the other hand, interprets life solely through binary perspectives.

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