News Treehugger Voices European Cars May Soon Have "Intelligent Speed Assistance." Should Every Car Have This? (Survey) By Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter Facebook Twitter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated October 11, 2018 08:55AM EDT Public Domain. European Transport Safety Council Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive When you try and go too fast it says, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." Where I live there is outrage that a guy driving at almost a hundred km/hr just got off after a 17-year-old was hit and killed in a 60 km/hr zone because, according to the judge, his driving "does not depart in a marked way from a standard of care expected in this situation." And after another child gets killed, the Globe and Mail editorializes that To save lives in Toronto, slow down the vehicles. ...the simple reality is that lower speed limits save lives. Mr. [Mayor] Tory knows this: The Vision Zero initiative includes lower limits in school zones and areas inhabited by older citizens... The laws of physics suggest that many of the victims are being struck by vehicles that are not travelling at the safe posted speeds – a supposition that is especially valid when the victim is a child near his school. European Transport Safety Council/Public Domain This is a problem all over the world, as children are killed by speeding cars. And in Europe, they may finally deal with the problem by making what they call Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) mandatory on all new cars. It's not like those dumb speed limiters that have been so controversial; like they say, it is intelligent. Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council, says that Intelligent Speed Assistance could be as important for saving kids lives as the seatbelt. From the press release: Not a day goes by without a politician or a carmaker promising that autonomous cars will solve the road safety problem. But if that day comes, it will take decades. By 2030 perhaps there will already be a few million automated cars on the world’s roads, compared to more than a billion other vehicles, many of which will be those leaving factories this year. There is a grave risk that governments ignore the huge safety benefits that can be achieved by installing proven driver assistance technologies today. European Transport Safety Council/Public Domain ISA works by linking speed limit recognition cameras and GPS data to let the driver know the speed limit and if the driver tries to go faster: "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." The car just won't go over the speed limit, except for short bursts when passing after depressing the accelerator pedal down hard to temporarily disable the system. Ford has put it in a few cars in the UK where there are lots of speed cameras, and notes: Drivers are not always conscious of speeding and sometimes only becoming aware they were going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail or are pulled over by law enforcement,” said Stefan Kappes, active safety supervisor, Ford of Europe. “Intelligent Speed Limiter can remove one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit.” Dodge Demon at Canadian Auto Show/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0 I somehow cannot see the someone from Ford in North America saying that; people here like big cars that go fast and I suspect would think that Intelligent Speed Assistance was a pretty dumb idea. When I suggested that the 840 HP Dodge Demon be banned, I got called every name in the book. It is no doubt a controversial idea, but look at the benefits, according to the ETSC: ISA is probably the single most effective new vehicle safety technology currently available in terms of its life-saving potential. A study for the European Commission found the other main positive impacts include: encouraging walking and cycling due to increased perceived safety of cars vis-à-vis vulnerable road users, a traffic calming effect, reductions in insurance costs, higher fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Tackling excessive speed is fundamental to reducing the figure of 26,000 road deaths every year in Europe. With mass adoption and use, ISA is expected to reduce collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%. European Transport Safety Council/Public Domain Really, slower cars, safer streets, less pollution -- I can't think of a single reason why anyone would object to this, can you? The ETSC claims that 78 percent of road users think it is a fine idea. What about you? Should all vehicles have Intelligent Speed Assistance?