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Speed-limiting devices in cars could cut crash deaths on Norfolk's roads, say transport bosses

A rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads has prompted concern at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Chris Bishop

A rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads has prompted concern at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Chris Bishop

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Smarter cars, using technology to limit speed, could play a vital role in reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads, according to transport bosses.

Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council's .executive director of 
community and enviornmental serviices. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council's .executive director of community and enviornmental serviices. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) is one of a raft of safety measures set to become mandatory in European vehicles after the plans were given approval by the European Commission.

It could mean special devices are fitted to all new cars from 2022 to automatically make them keep to the speed limit, after the new EU rules were provisionally agreed.

Concerns about a rise in the number of people who have been killed or seriously injured in crashes on Norfolk’s roads were raised by councillors earlier this week.

This year has seen fatal crashes in Wiggenhall St Germans, Costessey, Attleborough and Scarning.

The county council’s latest figures, from October 2017 to October 2018, showed there were 459 people killed or seriously injured in those 12 months.

The council had, in 2010, set a target to reduce casualties to 306 by December last year, but councillors fear that target will not be met.

And Tom McCabe, the council’s executive director of community and environmental services, said new technology could be key to reducing casualties.

He said: “My hopes and aspirations for the future is that cars get smarter. Will we be able to rely on that intelligence, rather than relying on diver actions? Maybe. There is technology around which can limit speed, which might be considered to be accessible and acceptable. It’s a huge problem for us all.

“Personally, I’m amazed that the tragic deaths on the roads do not have more impact. You can have two, three, four or five deaths on the roads, but it just doesn’t seem to have an impact at all.”

It is claimed the new measures could help save more than 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.

Road safety charity Brake described it as a “landmark day for road safety”, but the AA said the “best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot”.

The approved mandatory safety features for cars, vans, trucks and buses also include a warning of driver drowsiness and distraction, such as when using a smartphone while driving, and a data recorder in case of an accident.

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