New speed limit law begins and drivers in England warned 'familiarise yourself'

A new speed limiter rule has been imposed on cars across the continent after a European Union directive. New cars will be fitted with automatic speed limiters after a new EU law was pushed through last weekend on Sunday July 7.

As part of the new rules new vehicles will need to have Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems fitted as standard as part of an EU safety regulation mandate. The new law does not affect cars in Great Britiain but will affect those in Northern Ireland.

The RAC said that although the mandate does not apply in Great Britian, it is very likely that most new cars will be affected, because manufacturers are unlikely to modify new vehicle designs for the market here in Britain.

READ MORE UK households who don't park cars in garages at home 'warned'

Road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: "While it’s not currently mandated that cars sold in the UK have to be fitted with Intelligent Speed Assistance systems, we’d be surprised if manufacturers deliberately excluded the feature from those they sell in the UK as it would add unnecessary cost to production."

ISA uses a combination of GPS tracking data, satellite navigation, and information on speed limits of that roads that the vehicle is currently on. If the driver is travelling over the speed limit, the system can reduce engine power until the speed drops to the limit.

While previous regulations allowed drivers to turn the speed limiter off, ISA will be enabled when the engine is switch back on, meaning that it cannot be permanently disabled in new cars. Mr Dennis added: "Anyone getting a new vehicle would be well advised to familiarise themselves with ISA and how it works. In practice, if a driver exceeds the speed limit, an audible warning is sounded and then the car’s speed is automatically reduced."

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: "The Intelligent Speed Assistance laws coming into effect in July apply to the EU and Northern Ireland only, not Great Britain. We are constantly carrying out research into how transport users across all modes can benefit from the latest technology, ensuring journeys are safe, reliable, and cut emissions."