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Speed Limiters and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems: What Are They and How Do They Affect You as a Driver?

Did you know that your car has a speed limiter? Do you know what a speed limiter is? According to HowStuffWorks.com, this is is how a speed limiter works in your vehicle.

"A series of sensors detect how fast you're going, then communicate that information to the engine's computer, which manages nearly all the engine's functions. Once you reach a pre-determined top speed, the computer steps in and restricts the flow of air and fuel to the engine and even the sparks that cause combustion. Either way, you'll be unable to exceed the top speed as determined by the car's manufacturer."
Currently, many vehicle manufacturers allow that speed to be in excess of 100 mph and the limiter is based more on engine size and tire wear than speed limits.

However, European vehicles might be facing regulations that would require vehicles to employ an intelligence speed assistance system (ISA). This system will detect local speed limits and automatically cause the vehicle to slow down by limiting engine power to operate at those speeds. The European Union is planning to make ISAs compulsory on all vehicles manufactured starting in 2022.

The intent behind this legislation is to reduce road deaths and accidents by reducing driving speeds. ISAs are not the only safety measures planned to go into effect.  According to BBC News: "...the EU has set out a much wider range of compulsory safety measures that will have to be fitted to all cars from that date, including emergency automatic braking, lane-keeping assistance, and systems to prevent drivers from becoming drowsy or distracted."

In the United States, government mandates are also in place encouraging some form of advanced driver assistance systems ( ADAS). Many cars already have automatic braking sensors and auto-pilot capabilities and auto manufacturers are competitively trying to offer the most cutting edge safety features with each new model.

What is the concern for you as the driver? First, government regulations may eventually require speed limiters as well as ADAS. If you are planning to buy that amazing European Import vehicle, be aware that a speed limiter might already be installed. In addition, U.S. insurance companies are hesitant to provide premium discounts and other coverage incentives for vehicles with ADAS because there is not sufficient data to prove that ADAS reduce accidents. If you already own a vehicle with an ADAS, make sure you are informed as to how your insurance company views these systems before relying too heavily upon them.

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