Big Brother Will Still be Watching You
If you thought that the UK finally leaving the EU at the end of the year would free us from having to adhere to future EU vehicle safety legislation you might be in for a crashing disappointment. Some of the most invasive in-car technology you can imagine will be made mandatory in new cars sold in the EU from the start of 2022 and the UK government has already confirmed the same laws will be introduced here.
Some of the measures included in the legislation are hard to argue with, and the way things are going they would probably have become standard in most cars by 2022 anyway. Automated emergency braking and lane departure warning are two such systems that will be compulsory in all new cars by 2022, and who could object to those? However, two other systems will also be compulsory that a lot of people won’t welcome, which are a speed-limiting system and data recorders.
The correct name for the speed limiter device is intelligent speed assistance (ISA), which it certainly is. The system combines GPS data and onboard sign recognition cameras to determine the speed limit where you are driving, and an audible warning will sound if you are above the speed limit, and your vehicle automatically slow down to adhere to that limit.
The good news is drivers will be able to override the system by pushing hard on the accelerator, and it may be possible to disable the system altogether if you like. There's another system you won’t be able to disable though, and that's the onboard data recorder.
It's claimed compulsory data recorders will be used for investigating vehicle crashes and to assist research into increased vehicle safety, but the potential for this data to be used against drivers is alarming. Insurance companies may one day ask you to submit your last 12 months of data to see how you drive, and how far back in time might the police go with the data in the event of an accident? If they have access to the data, the police could easily identify enough incidents of speeding to get most drivers banned if they felt inclined to go back a few weeks or months.
What could the repercussions be?
One thing's for sure, it's not the vehicle manufacturers who are going to be paying for all this extra technology to be included in even the most affordable new cars from 2022. The cost will inevitably be met by the consumer, so new car prices could see substantial increases as 2022 approaches.
If these features were all pretty benign and the legislation just meant safety features like ABS and automatic emergency braking becoming compulsory, all we'd have to be concerned about as consumers would be the increase in new car prices. But as new cars from 2022 will have compulsory speed-limiters and data recorders, there could be a clamour for cars that don’t have to have these features ahead of the new legislation coming in.
We could see a big demand for brand new cars that don’t have to conform to the new rules towards the end of next year, and it could be the same with late-model used cars and ex-demonstrators as the 1st January 2022 approaches. As manufacturers will have to introduce the new features gradually ahead of time to meet the hard deadline, it might be an idea to start thinking about changing your car earlier in 2021 than you might have done as non-compliant stock could be hard to get your hands on as the year passes.
We could have a very different car market on our hands by the end of 2021. We could see relatively mundane, run-of-the-mill used cars increasing in value and being advertised as having ˜no onboard data recorder or speed limiter fitted.˜ You might not have as much trouble selling an 18-month old entry-level used Vauxhall Astra in December 2021 as you would in December 2020, but a newer model that doesn’t conform to the new legislation could cost you more than you’d like too.