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Cars self-brake when encountering speed limit signs

FranceRegulations applied from 2022 force new cars sold to have technology to automatically slow down if the driver is running over the limit.

Intelligent Speed ​​Assist (ISA) is a technology that automatically slows down the vehicle according to the limit indicated on the traffic sign. The system uses GPS and speed cameras to determine if the vehicle is going over the limit in the area, and then reminds the driver before automatically releasing the accelerator. The driver remains in control of the vehicle when the system intervenes.

The regulation will apply from 7/2022, with all new car models sold in France must have an ISA. From 2024, even older cars sold must be equipped with this technology.

80 km/h speed limit sign in Hyet, Haute-Saône, France. Photo: AFP

The European Union (EU) approved these regulations last week. This is part of the “Vision Zero” initiative with the aim of eliminating fatal accidents on the road by 2050. In addition to France, the regulation is also expected to apply in other countries in 2022.

The EU says that there were almost 23,000 fatal crashes on European roads in 2019. Driving at “excessive or inappropriate” speeds is said to be a “major hazard” to road safety.

In France alone, 2,780 people died from traffic accidents in 2020 – a decrease of 21% compared to 2019. The decrease was mainly due to the blockade regulations during the epidemic period, which means fewer people driving on the road. ISA technology can help reduce this rate further.

But the French Drivers Association doesn’t like the technology, saying it could be unsafe for drivers.

“For example, if you’re driving and the technology can detect a speed limit sign while exiting a motorway, the technology could brake sharply and could cause the driver to stop too quickly, too hard, and lead to an accident,” said Pierre Chasseray, president of an association of 40 million drivers.

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