All new cars launched from 2022 will need to be equipped with speed limiting equipment and the wiring for in-built breathalysers, following a decision by the European Council.
The European Commission gave provisional approval for a plan to make several safety features mandatory in new cars earlier this year. That plan has now received final approval, meaning it will pass into law.
The rule will make it compulsory for car manufacturers to fit intelligent speed assistance, wiring for in-car breathalysers, lane keep assistance, autonomous emergency braking, data loggers and a driver drowsiness warning systems.
All new models launched from 2022 will have to have the technology fitted with models already on sale will have to comply with the rules by 2024.
Although it is yet to be confirmed if the UK will set the same rules after Brexit, the Government has previously said the UK will mirror European road safety rules.
Timo Harakka of the European Council, said “These new rules will help us to reduce significantly the number of fatalities and severe injuries.”
Previously, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said that approval of the measures could cut collisions by 30% and save 25,000 lives across Europe in the next 15 years.
The move has met with a mixed response from safety and motoring organisations. With Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, saying “Drink-driving and speeding are a scourge on our roads and the cause of devastating crashes every day. On the eve of Road Safety Week, it’s fantastic to hear that alcohol interlock compatibility and speed limiting technology will soon be mandatory.”
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, welcomed the move and said that most law-abiding drivers would not be affected by the breathalyser technology.
He said: “IAM RoadSmart welcomed these proposals earlier this year so it is great to see they will actually happen.”
“Speed limiters will still be voluntary so you don’t have to use them but they could save your licence.”
“Although all new cars from 2022 will be enabled to have an alcolock it will be up to the UK government to decide how they are used. We see them as a useful tool for repeat drink drive offenders to get them back to safe driving after a ban. It is very unlikely that the vast majority of the law abiding public will ever have to blow in a tube to start their car.”
However, AA president Edmund King warned that drivers should not become overly reliant on technology. He said “Advisory intelligent speed assistance can help drivers keep their eyes on the road rather than constantly checking their speedo.
“Drivers sticking religiously to the speed limit still face the threat of smartphone zombies and other unwary road users stepping out in front of them or drunk or distracted drivers crashing into them.”
“Technology will play a part but drivers should not rely solely on computers and cameras to drive their cars for them. Until fully autonomous vehicles are on the roads, drivers must keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”