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ISA essential for EU vehicle safety standards

18 February 2019

On 21 February, the European Parliament’s Internal Market (IMCO) Committee will vote on critical new EU vehicle safety standards which include a proposal to make overridable ISA a mandatory technology on all new vehicles from 2022.  

A full briefing is available from ETSC through its Reducing Speeding in Europe (PIN Flash 36) report available here.

The Safe System approach, which is central to the UK's approach to road safety and has been endorsed in the EU strategic action plan on road safety, requires the road traffic management system to limit speeds to survivable levels, taking into account that humans make mistakes and their bodies have a limited tolerance for kinetic forces in case of a road collision.

It is estimated that this single measure could eventually reduce deaths on European roads by 20%. The entire package of vehicle safety measures is expected to prevent more than 25,000 deaths between 2022 and 2037, but only if it is adopted in its entirety.

The update to the EU’s General Safety Regulation for motor vehicles was proposed by the European Commission in May 2018, as part of a package of new road safety measures, and includes a number of new mandatory technologies such as Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) and an overridable form of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), to help drivers keep within the speed limit.  The measures also include improvements to passive safety (crash protection) and a new “direct vision” standard for lorries to give drivers better visibility of the road (and other road users) around them.

What is Intelligent Speed Assistance?

ISA uses a speed sign-recognition video camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit and automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed. ISA systems do not automatically apply the brakes, but simply limit engine power, preventing the vehicle from accelerating past the current speed limit unless overridden by the driver. Vehicles with this kind of ISA system factory fitted are already on sale – helped in part by Euro NCAP’s decision to reward extra points for vehicles that include ISA . The system is fitted as standard on the new Ford Focus for instance. See: www.etsc.eu/isa