Wednesday, February 19, 2020
News Europe May Impose Speed Limiters and Breathalyzers In Modern Cars

Europe May Impose Speed Limiters and Breathalyzers In Modern Cars

Proposed legislation in Europe would require every new car to include black boxes and speed limiters along with a long list of other technologies.


The European Commission is just about ready to impose a slew of new technologies in modern cars including speed limiting software and the easy installation of breathalyzers. Black boxes and a variety of active safety systems would also be required.

Still at the proposal stage, the legislation calls for mandatory installation of a wide range of systems which would (among other things) prevent cars from accelerating passed the speed limit and provide easy installation of a breathalyzer – that gizmo you need to blow in to make sure you’re sober before driving if convicted of a DUI.

Jalopnik came up with the extensive list which also includes lane departure warning, tire pressure monitoring, rear-view cameras, fatigue detection and distraction prevention.

EU Speed Limiting
EU Speed Limiting

And here we thought Volvo’s drunk driving detection system was intrusive.

If the law passes, all cars sold in Europe starting in 2022 will have to be equipped with an “Event data recorder” which could provide insight to investigators about the cause of an accident, the speed at which the car was rolling, and what measures were taken to avoid the accident.

The speed limiter is called “Intelligent speed assistance” and would use a system of GPS and cameras to prevent cars from going over the speed limit. Now it’s getting a bit scary. The report from the BBC explaining the system does mention that it can be deactivated temporarily or shut off.

Still, aren’t we just one small step away from a third party being able to control random cars from a distance? And what if the system should fail? Say, it thinks you’re going 40 mph over the limit and slows you down automatically when you’re already under the limit…

EU Speed Limiting
EU Speed Limiting

EU Speed Limiting
EU Speed Limiting

And then there’s the breathalyzer thing. It wouldn’t be an all out system that forces you to blow into a tube before driving off, but rather ensure that everything is there to quickly and easily install such a system if required.

It’s so hard to know what to make of these proposals which aren’t anywhere near being enacted. On the one hand, there’s always that part of you that thinks “why not?”.

If you don’t want people driving too fast, don’t let them drive fast. If you want to prevent drunk driving, then make sure they can’t start the car if they are drunk and so on.

But then there’s the whole rights thing and how far should Big Brother be allowed into our homes, or in this case into our cars?

That’s what the European Union will have to decide in the coming months.

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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