“EU plans to fit all cars with speed limiters”

An idea destined to come here as well? “Under the [European Commission] proposals new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when this is exceeded. Patrick McLoughlin, the [British] Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also mean existing cars are sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph.” [Telegraph]

More: EU denies having such plans (see comments). And in the U.S., federal regulators (NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) have considered speed governors on heavy trucks, drawing objections on safety and other grounds from independent truckers (2007), while the idea of speed limiters on ordinary passenger cars has drawn regulatory interest in both Canada and the U.S., as well as favorable note from such commentators as Matthew Yglesias and Ryan Avent.


  • Did EU already try this with trains? If not, why not?


  • Next up: Obligatory breathalyzer interlocks for all.

  • Sic transit gloria autobahn.

  • The European Commission denies having any such plans and says the Telegraph quoted out of context a statement about theoretical research into how these things might work in the long-term future.

    (H/T: a comment on the article you linked.)

  • How would any of these (hypothetical or not) not be foiled by a piece of electrical tape over the lense? Or possibly a tiny, photoshopped picture including a speed limit sign saying 200kph?

  • Ctrees, not “200 kph” (= approx. 125 mph), that would definitely attract attention! (unless it was on a German autobahn, where upposedly there is no speed limit…?)

  • Melvin, that is no longer true. At least on the portions of the autobahn I drove recently, there were definitely speed limits.
    Off topic, but I want to say it anyway – the Germans were much, much better about “if you are not passing, stay out of the left lane.” I found myself following that rule* for the first time and found it was quite a relief. (*I have seen signs around here that tell you to keep right unless passing. I don’t know if any written laws back that up, but it is certainly not enforced.)