Print 101 comment(s) - last by Perry Tanko.. on Sep 16 at 6:21 PM

  (Source: Wallpaper Den)
Bye bye autobahn

Europe has been known as the birthplace of some of the world's fastest cars with luxury-minded speed-demons from Italian brands like Volkswagen AG's (ETR:VOW) Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., German brands like Daimler AG's (ETR:DAI) Mercedes-Benz, or the UK's Bentley Motor Group Ltd. (also a Volkswagen property).  Indeed, perhaps no highway system is as famous as Germany's autobahns, where there is no enforced speed limit.

But all of that could soon be changing.

The European Union's Mobility and Transport Department -- a branch of the EU's market regulatory body, the European Commission (EC) -- is preparing an extreme proposal to counter auto fatalities in the region.  UK newspaper Telegraphcites the office of Patrick McLoughlin, the UK's Transport Secretary as warning of the controversial proposal.

EU speeding
The EU is looking to pull the plug on drivers travelling over 70 mph. [Image Source: Porsche]

Reportedly the EC approached Mr. McLoughlin with a pending proposal that sought to use an Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) scheme to prevent any new vehicles sold in the EU from going over 70 miles per hour.  The EC officials argued that the proposal was necessary to curb the over 30,000 drivers who die each year on Europe's streets.

But Mr. McLoughlin blasted the proposal; with a "government source" close his office commenting:

This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.  The Commission wanted [Mr. McLoughin's] views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.

An EC spokesperson confirmed that talks about new speed regulation are pending, remarking:

There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses.  Taking account of the results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things

Aside from the more basic free market and cost issues, another problem with the proposal arguably is the fact the EU member states vary greatly in traffic fatalities.  Out of Britain's thirty eight million motorists, there are only 1,754 fatalities in 2012 -- a 0.0046 percent death rate.  By contrast Germany's forty-five million motorists in 2012 got in 3,657 fatalities -- a 0.0081 percent death rate (almost twice as high).

This controversy may be laid to rest -- or further ignited -- when self-driving (autonomous or semi-autonomous) cars hit the market.  Google, Inc. (GOOG), General Motors Comp. (GM), and Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201) are among the companies working to bring self-driving car technology to the market.

Source: Telegraph

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RE: scary proposal.
By Jeffk464 on 9/3/2013 8:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
You could actually tie the system into the navigation system so the car can't go more than 10 mph over the speed limit no matter what road you are on.

By the way driving a sporty car around the mountains is fun, commuting to work in the city is a chore.

RE: scary proposal.
By CaedenV on 9/3/2013 9:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
This is a much better idea. Perhaps have a global speed limit of say 80mph so that no matter how you hack your car you can't outrun the cops, but for in-town driving there should be a floating limiter based on local speed limitations.

Rather than a 10mph speed limit, then maybe a 15% limit? Going 30mph in a school zone is a bit out of line, but 23 is not. Similarly, if you are on a small country freeway then you may need more than a 70mph bump if you need to pass a slow poke without worrying about oncoming traffic.

... Still, I would rather not have such limitations on my car. But if we are going to have limits then lets have limits that make some sense.

RE: scary proposal.
By silverblue on 9/4/2013 2:26:29 AM , Rating: 2
The police safety camera vans can get you for doing 10% + 2mph over the limit round these parts (35, 46, 57, 68 and 79 for 30 to 70). That limit of yours would work for 35 and 46, but you'd end up with a nice letter at the other speeds.

RE: scary proposal.
By Solandri on 9/5/2013 5:05:21 PM , Rating: 2
Every time I read about artificially limiting a car's top speed to prevent people from breaking the law, I'm reminded of a story from when Mt. St. Helens blew up. One of the survivors said he was doing 100 mph down the mountain road to get away from the pyroclastic flow. He passed a couple doing 70 mph in a station wagon. He lived. They died.

Yeah, I know volcanoes are exceedingly rare events. The point is that occasionally situations arise where the need for that extra speed is more important than any law.

RE: scary proposal.
By Devilboy1313 on 9/4/2013 1:15:08 AM , Rating: 3
Just curious ... how would you pass a car that is going under the limit? Wouldn't that extra 10 mph result in way more time in on-coming traffic?

Maybe that's just me but when I pass a car, I pass as fast as I can and get back in. Screw the speed limits, I'd rather temporarily break the speed limit than increase the chance of a head-on collision at highway speeds.

RE: scary proposal.
By ShieTar on 9/4/2013 2:40:04 AM , Rating: 2
You do not drive on the opposite direction lane on a European highway. Highways have almost exclusively several lanes per direction, and a steel separation between the two directions. Also, the time you can spend on the opposite direction without accidents is about 0.05 seconds.

What you are thinking of are one-lane state roads. There already is a speed limit on those, e.g. 65 mph outside of settlements, 30 mph inside of settlement for Germany.

The law wants to reduce the number of accidents caused by people going 150 mph on the highway because they "know" they are a great driver.

RE: scary proposal.
By Jeffk464 on 9/4/2013 2:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, divided highways save more lives then speed limits. People suck at passing, seen people screw up way to many times.

RE: scary proposal.
By TSS on 9/4/2013 9:02:11 AM , Rating: 3
I don't know how it is in other europian countries but here in holland it's allowed by law to break the speed limit for a short time only in case you have to overtake another car.

Say the limit is 120 km/h, and another car is going 110 km/h, then you basically *have* to speed up to about 130 km/h to pass that car in a timely and safely manner. The law recognises this and it's allowed.

In fact large trucks can only go 80 km/h and aren't allowed to pass eachother on the highway just for this fact. When they do it takes such a long time for them to pass eachother there's a real risk of "Ghost traffic", where you end up in a traffic jam and at the end speed up out of it again without ever having passed a accident or road construction or whatever. Becuase of the ripple effect of 2 trucks going 80 km/h blocking the passenger cars going 120 km/h.

For reference, 70 mp/h is about 112 km/h, while the passenger car speed limit here is 120 km/h on most highways while being 130 km/h and 80 km/h on a few select ones. So there's no way these regulations will fly because there's too much variation in local laws.

This is just the brussels gravy train trying to look usefull. The plan will get shot down and once again they'll have spent about half a year working and staffing another plan that'd never work in the first place. Did you know that just this year, with "austerity" gripping the continent, brussels asked for a 8% increase in budget?

RE: scary proposal.
By TheEinstein on 9/4/2013 12:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
80km/h? I would go stark raving mad! I thought California was bad with their 90km/h in a zone where autos go 118km/h.

And no passing? Yeah that makes me cry. Today I have 10,000 pounds of cargo and ahead of me is a good half dozen mountain climbs. Getting stuck behind a truck going 35km/h where I can easily get 100km/h up the same... insane!

did you know my truck model gets the same fuel economy at 100km/h as it does 112km/h? That is because the way the gearing works in the CAT Engine I have. It gets more efficient at higher speeds.

RE: scary proposal.
By Nephiorim on 9/7/2013 11:18:02 AM , Rating: 2
Well take into consideration the Netherlands is about as flat as a country gets. No mountains. Also the no overtaking rule for trucks is only in effect in certain locations on the highway and only during certain hours. Add to that the fact that we don't have the monster trucks like the US has... It's not too bad really :). Also looking at the Netherlands from west to east it's about 130-140km across, so traffic permitting you won't spend more than 2 hours driving from the port of Rotterdam to Germany.

RE: scary proposal.
By PrinceGaz on 9/5/2013 11:32:47 AM , Rating: 2
If large trucks are limited to 80 km/h, the best solution to avoid accidents is to limit everyone to 80 km/h. You've solved the overtaking speed-differential problem, improved the fuel efficiency of all road vehicles generally therefore reducing pollution, and reduced the risk of accidents.

Anyone who is in a hurry to get somewhere else can always catch the train (or plane for international journeys).

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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