A quick guide to speed limiters

By 2022, all new cars sold in the UK and Europe will have speed limiters, under changes to vehicle safety rules that have been provisionally agreed by the EU.  

Despite the possibility that the UK may no longer be part of the EU when the new safety rules come into effect, the Vehicle Certification Agency has confirmed they will still be implemented by the UK.

What’s a speed limiter?

A speed limiter is a safety device that prevents drivers from exceeding the speed limit. There are two types of speed limiter: an adjustable speed limiter, which is controlled by the driver, and an intelligent speed limiter – also known as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA).

How does a speed limiter work?

An adjustable speed limiter works by the driver selecting the maximum speed they want to travel at, while an intelligent speed limiter works by using GPS to monitor road signs, to detect the speed limit where the vehicle is travelling.

With either type of speed limiter, you’ll be unable to go beyond the top speed unless you push hard on the accelerator – this might be required in certain situations where it may be safer to speed up.

What cars have speed limiters?

Many types of cars have speed limiters: Adjustable ones are more common, and they’re often included as standard on most vehicles, or available at an extra cost. Intelligent speed limiters are currently less common, however it’s this type that’s set to be fitted to all new cars by 2022.

Is a speed limiter the same as cruise control?

A speed limiter prevents a vehicle from travelling over a certain speed, while cruise control maintains a specific speed that’s been set the driver. You’re in full control of your vehicle when using a speed limiter, but cruise control takes over the accelerator, adjusting the power when required.   

As per speed limiters, cruise control can also be overridden by the driver, by switching it off.