Scottish Police call for cars with in-built speed restrictors

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SENIOR police officers want cruise control to be mandatory in all cars to help drivers stick to speed limits in areas near schools.

The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (Asps)is also calling for “black boxes” to be fitted in vehicles driven by younger motorists with the data they collect used to calculate insurance premiums.

The recommendations have been made following the devolution of powers over setting speeds limit to the Scottish Parliament. The Asps wants MSPs to also consider legislation to force manufacturers to install more car safety technology.

It wants manufacturers to commit to creating cars with in-built speed restrictors to cut road deaths by forcing drivers to keep below national limits.

Although the number of both adults and children injured on Scotland’s roads declined last year, Asps points out that there were still around 2,000 people killed across the UK in 2011. Asps believes cruise control technology is a way of making sure cars stick to speed limits lower than 70mph in a certain area. It allows drivers to instruct their vehicles to stick to 28mph, for example, in a 30mph zone.

Chief Superintendent David O’Connor, president of Asps, said: “For people like salesmen, if all cars had cruise control, it would be easier to drive within limits.”

He said fitting black boxes in all cars would be an added safety measure. “Some companies already fit black boxes for young drivers to monitor how fast they drive and how sharply they brake,” he said.“Your insurance premiums are then related to the findings in the black box.”

The Scottish Government is already funding a pilot project to fit black boxes to business cars being driven by the under-25 age group.

It is being run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa), which believes it could be widened to cover all young drivers.

Kathleen Braidwood, road safety officer at Rospa, said: “It gives a second-by-second account looking at all aspects of a person’s driving. It records appropriate length of speed, calmness of drive, braking, acceleration, and gives an overall score. It would be really good to see it rolled out more widely. It’s the way forward to encourage better driving, safer driving and more informed 

However, motoring manufacturers insist they are already working hard to prevent accidents. A spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: “Enhancing vehicle safety and reducing emissions are key priorities for the industry and investment in safety technology has contributed to a decline of more than 70 per cent in the number of annual deaths on British roads since the 70mph speed limit was introduced in 1965.

“Today, vehicles are safer than ever, developed to meet a range of driving conditions and driver styles.”

The Scottish Government agreed that despite falling road deaths and injuries, more action still needs to be taken to improve road safety.

However, it stopped short of echoing Asps call for action from motoring manufacturers.

But is said that any matters relating to vehicle specification would come down to EU law and would not be for the Scottish Parliament.

Transport minister Keith Brown said: “Despite the fact Scotland recently recorded the lowest road casualty figures since records began, one death on our roads is one too many as far as I am concerned.

“Our co-ordinated approach is based on education, engineering and enforcement, combined with targeted safety campaigns and demanding targets.

“The national debate on safety of young drivers publication highlighted the potential for speed limiting technology and black box data recorders to improve road safety, and we are about to fund an innovative new pilot project to assess the potential road safety benefits of black box technology to young drivers at work.”