The European Parliament recently voted in favour of introducing new minimum vehicle safety technology standards for all new cars, vans, lorries and buses from 2022. Among the mandatory vehicle safety technology to be introduced is Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA). While this is certainly a positive move from a safety perspective, it will undoubtedly have an impact on fleet operators. So, what does this news mean for fleets and how should they be preparing?
The measures being introduced by the European Commission have been designed with the aim of improving overall road safety and reducing numbers of serious road traffic accidents. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has estimated that the new measures could save as many as 25,000 lives and avoid around 140,000 road traffic accidents by 2038.
How will this be done?
The new Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems use on-board sign recognition camera technology, in conjunction with GPS information, to detect the speed limit on the road the vehicle is travelling on. In instances where the driver exceeds the speed limit, the vehicle will automatically slow down. The driver will be able to override the system by pressing down on the accelerator pedal, however, an alarm will sound if this action is taken.
“The best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot.”Edmund KingAA President
Fleets of the future
In addition to this ‘speed limiting’ technology, other safety features will become mandatory for all new vehicles by 2022, including automated emergency braking, electronic data recorders and new legislation to tackle drink driving, making it easier to retrofit an alcohol interlock device into a vehicle.
These new safety measures are a step in the right direction, however, they cannot eliminate dangerous driving altogether. Intelligent speed adaption can only limit the vehicle from driving over the designated speed limit for that road.
As AA president Edmund King commented, “The best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot”, demonstrating that, while progressive, technology is still unable to protect against irresponsible driver behaviour. With this in mind, it is recommended that fleet operators look to provide drivers with supplementary training on safe driving practices and how to best utilise these new technologies.
As we look to the future, business van fleet operators should view the upcoming changes as an opportunity to adopt the use of connected cars and autonomous driving technologies more widely. With other changes, such as the introduction of alcohol interlock devices already being discussed, it is only a question of time before further technologies become a legal requirement.
By preparing and adapting their policies now, fleet operators can encourage drivers to begin engaging with monitoring systems and new technologies ahead of their roll out. When used correctly, telematics has the potential to help drivers to become more aware of the way they drive, supporting the continuous improvement of driver safety standards long into in the future.