Hey, you can call me cynical if you like, but a written parliamentary question to Paul Clark of the DfT suggests we are a fair way down that particular avenue of public control already.
This draft is being tested through pilots, first in Lancashire as part of a Road Safety Partnership Grant-funded project looking at an advisory form of Intelligent Speed Adaptation, and more recently through a second pilot with Greater Manchester, building on work they have started as part of their review of A and B road speed limits. The technical document will be made available to authorities to use following any necessary post-pilot revisions.'Intelligent Speed Adaptation'. Now there's a phrase which reeks of civil service euphemistic licence, no? Unsurprising, really, considering the quite sinister possibilities of such a system.
Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) is an in-vehicle system that uses information on the position of the vehicle in a network in relation to the speed limit in force at that particular location. ISA can support drivers in helping them to comply with the speed limit everywhere in the network.Aww, ain't they nice? 'Helping' us to act as they demand again, how very thoughtful.
ISA is a collective term for various systems:The system consists of a GPS device in your car, rather like a SatNav, which sees how fast you are travelling, compares it to the applicable speed limit, and nags you like some electronic mother-in-law.
- The open ISA warns the driver (visibly and/or audibly) that the speed limit is being exceeded. The driver him/herself decides whether or not to slow down. This is an informative or advisory system.
- The half-open ISA increases the pressure on the accelerator pedal when the speed limit is exceeded (the 'active accelerator'). Maintaining the same speed is possible, but less comfortable because of the counter pressure.
- The closed ISA limits the speed automatically if the speed limit is exceeded. It is possible to make this system mandatory or voluntary. In the latter case, drivers may choose to switch the system on or off.
Nanny right there in the front seat with you. Every time you switch on the ignition. Every day. Perfect, huh?
Now, if anyone can come up with a reasonable argument as to why government - taking into account their track record of imposing mandatory provisions after declaring voluntary ones unacceptable - won't swiftly move to a 'closed' system being compulsory in all new vehicles, then I'd be pleased to offer to sell them a large London monument.
And as it's GPS-based, you can no doubt be tracked in any number of ways into the bargain.
What's not to like ... if you're a hideous, scum-sucking poser of an MP with control freak tendencies (ie., most of them)?