Not So Fast!

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Blog
May 2019


In the UK, more than 1,000 drivers are caught speeding every day, making it the number one driving offence amongst motorists. With stricter penalties enforced in April 2018, speeding can seriously affect motorists’ insurance as drivers with speeding offences are more likely to pay proportionately higher premiums.

However, the era of drivers with ‘a need for speed’ could soon be coming to an end, due to significant changes to vehicle safety rules provisionally agreed by the EU. From 2022, all new cars sold in the UK and Europe will be fitted with devices to automatically stop drivers from exceeding the speed limit. Despite Brexit, the UK regulator, the Vehicle Certifications Agency, has indicated that the UK will also adopt these same safety standards.
 
How do they work?
Called Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), the speed limiter devices use GPS data and sign recognition cameras to detect speed limits, before sounding a warning and automatically slowing the car down if it is determined to be speeding by limiting the supply of power to the engine, rather than applying the brakes. However, drivers will be able to override the device by pressing hard down on the accelerator.
 
Why?
There is suggestion that automatically slowing down speeding cars would significantly reduce the number of collisions and save thousands of lives – as many as 25,000, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).
 
What’s next?
As well as ISAs, there are additional safety measures which are expected to be made mandatory from 2022, including; automated emergency braking, electronic data recorders and improved visibility built into lorries to see cyclists and pedestrians. The measures still need to be passed by the European parliament, but there is unlikely to be significantly disruptive opposition.

For insurers, the introduction of ISA devices is likely to have an impact on risk assessment and calculations and ultimately, on premiums for customers. However, as discussed in our automotive technology blog, the introduction of a semi-AI element could also complicate the responsibility of liability if an accident were to occur, or indeed, the ISA malfunctioned. Insurers must be prepared to be flexible, agile and innovative as the automotive industry heads steadily into an unexplored – but exciting – new era of insurance challenges and solutions.