New research published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) reveals that speeding remains a significant problem in many European countries. And, ahead of an important vote in the European Parliament on Thursday on future mandatory in-vehicle safety technologies, the ETSC is calling for Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) to be mandatory on new vehicles to help tackle the issue.

ETSC researchers studied the numbers of vehicles found to be driving above the speed limit on different road types in the countries that were able to provide such data. On urban roads, where 37% of all EU road deaths occur, the researchers found that between 35% and 75% of vehicle speed observations were higher than the legal speed.

On rural non-motorway roads, where 55% of all road deaths in the EU occur, between 9% and 63% of vehicle speed observations were higher than the speed limit.

On motorways, where 8% of all road deaths in the EU occur, between 23% and 59% of observed vehicle speeds were higher than the speed limit.

According to the researchers, excessive and inappropriate speed is accountable for about one third of fatal collisions and is an aggravating factor in most collisions. And, while reducing speeding requires a combination of measures including higher levels of enforcement, improved infrastructure and credible speed limits – ETSC researchers have singled out ISA, a driver assistance system available today, as the key in-vehicle safety measure for tackling the problem.

“Five hundred people die every week on EU roads, a figure that has refused to budge for several years,” said Graziella Jost, ETSC Projects Director. “And driving too fast is still the number one killer. It’s very simple: if we want to bring down the number of road deaths, we have to tackle speed effectively. Right now, the EU has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a massive difference. Including overridable ISA on every new vehicle as standard could eventually prevent a fifth of road deaths. We urge MEPs to back this essential life-saving measure.”

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

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 ISA, to help drivers keep within the speed limit.

The report can be downloaded from