From Black Boxes to Speed Limiters, 15 Ways the European Union Will Make All Cars Safer—Part 1

Automologist MAC brings us more on the safety initiatives coming from the EU.  

The EU, it seems, has a bit of a bee in the bonnet at present about road safety and how to keep us all a bit more secure whilst we go about our daily commute. Now the faceless bureaucrats in Strasbourg have announced a raft of changes that will come into effect by 2022. Even if you do not live in Europe, it is likely that many of the changes will gradually trickle into your market as manufacturers around the globe add them to their offerings, so that they too can compete in Europe.

1. Speed Limiters. Technology that is designed to slow the car once the vehicle—and not the driver—has recognised it is exceeding the speed limit. To start with, these will not be hard limiters; the driver will have the option to override or even turn them off. Well, at least at first, as we get used to the technology. I am sure stricter applications will follow in the future.

Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter. Image source: via Car Magazine UK

2. Autonomous Emergency Brakes. This feature is already available for a lot of cars in either a standard or option format. Basically, the car will ‘sense’ an emergency and activate the Autonomous Emergency Braking system (AEB). The system will be sensitive enough to be able to spot errant pedestrians walking into the road, but is really for use when a car in front comes to an abrupt halt.


3. Alcohol Interlock Installation Facilitation. Who comes up with these names? This will be a system to detect excess alcohol and thereafter prevent the driver from starting the car. Just hoping that excessive perfume won’t set it off. Apparently, this can also include the installation of an actual breathalyser for drivers who have previously been busted for drink-driving.

Image source:

4. Drowsiness Detection. To be introduced from 2024 as a standard feature, the system will warn you if you start to nod off whilst driving. This technology has been available in a lot of more expensive cars for a while and truth be told, it has started to be available in lower-end cars.

5. Distraction Recognition. This seems similar to the drowsiness detector but is supposed to let you know that you are not paying attention to the road. So, no more texting on the sly, chaps.

6. Lane-Keeping Assist. This technology has been available for a while. Basically, it is a sensor that can tell if you are crossing the white lane divider lines. If you are not indicating, then it emits a rumbling sound. I have one of these in my car; it is always switched off, though.

7. The Black Box. Actually, it is called an “event data recorder and is not that dissimilar to the famous black box you get in an aeroplane. The device will record all the parameters leading up to an accident, such as speed and braking and, I suppose, the screams of terror just before impact.

Image source: mmbistoday

Eight more ways the EU is making cars safer in Part 2:

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