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EU driving law will hold drivers responsible for breaking rules if new speed limiters fail


In a briefing for 2017, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said the driver, rather than the technology, would be responsible for speeding penalties. It means the tools will differ from fully automated vehicles where drivers are unlikely to be held responsible for accidents when they are not driving themselves.

This is because road users will still be in control of their vehicles while the limiters can be overridden when they first launch.

However, the ETSC said the Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) tool would “aid development” of self-driving tools which could launch in the future.

The briefing said: “ISA is a driver assistance technology: the driver, not the car, is responsible for obeying the current speed limit at all times.

“Speed-sign recognition technology is improving rapidly.

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“It should be possible to detect the current speed limit at a high level of accuracy including temporary speed limits, digital signs, overhead signs and the like.

“Similarly, over-the-air updates of speed limit information stored in the car is possible, especially now that all cars have to have the built-in communications technology required for the eCall system.

“In the limited number of cases where the car limits the speed incorrectly to a lower speed than is actually permitted, the driver would be able to override.

“Conversely, if the vehicle sets the limit higher than is actually permitted, then the driver would be responsible for ensuring that he or she does not exceed the speed limit.

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“The car industry is rapidly developing automated driving functionality where the ability of the car to obey the current speed limit will be essential and the carmaker will be responsible for any error.

“ISA’s rapid adoption will therefore aid development of a robust approach.”

The RAC has previously warned cars fitted with speed limiters will be equipped with data loggers.

These will track the system and how it is being used under recommendations for the ETSC.

Several EU road rules have already been transferred to the UK and manufacturers prefer having standardised production for export purposes.

The ETSC has previously claimed the new limiters could reduce collisions by around 30 percent.

They say this would save around 35,000 lives within 15 years.

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