For years, speed has been recognised as one of the three main contributing factors to deaths on our roads. And for more than a decade, ETSC has been advocating the benefits of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), a driver assistance system that a 2014 Norwegian study found to be the ‘most effective’ in saving lives.

ISA uses a speed sign-recognition video camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit and warn them if they are exceeding it.  The most effective systems automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed by limiting engine power. Vehicles with this kind of ISA system factory fitted have been on sale for several years – helped in part by Euro NCAP’s decision to reward extra points for vehicles that include ISA.

The European Union agreed in 2019 to make an overridable version of ISA, along with a number of other vehicle safety measures, mandatory on new models of car sold in the EU from July 2022 and on all new cars sold from July 2024.  However if carmakers only fit systems that meet the minimum requirements, the potential to prevent deaths and injuries will be limited, compared to systems that actually intervene to prevent the driver from accelerating over the speed limit.

ISA has been trialled in many Member States, and while drivers take a short time to adjust to the technology, the majority appreciated it. One obvious benefit, as Ford has pointed out in a marketing campaign, is that it helps drivers avoid speeding tickets.