EU aims to put speed limit technology in cars

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BIRKENWERDER, GERMANY - A road sign for the speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Union is moving to equip cars with technology that would keep them from speeding as well as data recorders that could document the circumstances of accidents.

The EU Commission said Wednesday it has struck a provisional deal to require a host of new safety features, including so-called intelligent speed assistance, which recognizes the speed limit using mapping systems and can limit engine power.

The driver can override the system by pushing harder on the gas pedal, though the onboard data recorder will register the car’s speed.

“Every year 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads,” said Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European Commissioner responsible for internal market and industry. “We can and must act to change this.”

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-country EU, said that the features would be required on all vehicles on European roads from 2022.

The other safety features would include systems to warn drivers if they seem drowsy and against distractions such as smartphone use. Cameras and sensors would be required to avoid accidents while backing up and to help keep a car in a lane.

And another system would help bus and truck drivers avoid hitting cyclists in their so-called blind spots. Although properly adjusted mirrors should allow truck drivers to see to the side, Germany’s transport ministry has pushed for the measure to reduce deaths of cyclists and pedestrians.

Much of the technology already exists and is available on more expensive cars.

The measures were agreed on in negotiations between European national governments, the commission, and the European parliament. The provision political agreement is subject to formal approval by the European parliament and EU leaders.

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