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New EU safety measures announced could see all cars fitted with a device that stops them from exceeding the 70mph speed limit, in a bid to cut deaths from road accidents by one third.
Under the new government proposals, all new cars would be fitted with a camera which could read road speed limit signs and automatically and apply the brakes when a car exceeded this limit.
Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, is said to be opposed to the plans, which could also involve existing cars being sent to garages to be fitted with the speed limiters, preventing them from going over 70mph.
The new measures have been suggested by the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Department as a measure to reduce the 30,000 people who die on the roads in Europe every year. But a Government source has revealed that Mr McLoughlin has instructed officials to block the move as he feels that the new measures are a ‘violation’ of motorists’ freedom.
The Mail on Sunday has reacted to the new measures by referring to them as a Big Brother style of reinforcement, they said: “This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people’s backs up about Brussels.
“The Commission wanted his views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.”
Sources claim that one of the reasons Mr McLoughlin was against the Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) scheme is that the UK has a better road safety record than other European countries – with 1,754 people dying in road accidents last year compared to 3,657 in Germany.
It is proposed that the scheme will work via the use of satellites which would be capable of communicating speed limits to cars automatically. Alternatively, cameras could be used inside cars which could read road signs in advance and provide drivers with a subsequent warning.
A spokesman for the European Commission said: “There is currently a consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses.
“Taking account of the results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things.”