News Story 3 News Headlines.
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This Article was written by Ray Massey: it was publish in Britain on 8th April, 2003... by 'The Daily Mail'.  
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Cars are to be fitted with electronic devices that will automatically keep drivers within the speed limit in trials costing 2million.  If successful, manufacturers could be ordered to fit the 'black box' limiters costing between 100 - 200 to all new cars within the decade.  
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Supporters say the idea could save more than 1,000 lives a year.  But coming at a time when speed cameras are proliferating, it triggered fresh allegations yesterday of Big Brother-style interference to slow cars down.  
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The Government is backing the two-year experiment by Leeds University and the motor industry research body, MIRA, which will involve up to 20 Skoda Fabia cars.  The system - which could eventually make speed cameras redundant - is known as Intelligent Speed Adaption and works in a similar way to in-car satellite navigation systems.   
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Its backers say it could be easily and relatively cheaply integrated into existing dashboard technology.  Each Skoda has a small computer unit in the boot which carries in its memory a digital road map showing the limits on all roads in Leeds, as well as on motorways around the U.K.  
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A satellite positioning system tells the computer where the car is at all times.  When a vehicle drives into an area where the speed limit drops from, say, 40mph to 30mph, a signal is sent to a device which controls the engine management system, preventing the speed from rising above the legal limit.  The driver hears a 'beep' when the limit changes and can see a warning on the electronic map on the dashboard.  
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The system detects whether the driver is responding to the new limit.  If not, the car will begin breaking automatically some 300 yards before the 30mph sign.  Drivers taking part in the trial will be able to override the system in an emergency, for example to accelerate out of danger.  It is not known, however, if an override would be included if the device was approved for general use.  
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Professor Oliver Carsten from Leeds University's department of transport studies, who is leading the project, denied it smacked of Big Brother.  'I don't think it is Big Brother to enforce the law,' he said.  'This system is cheaper than speed cameras and more effective at changing driver behaviour'. 
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A 12-month trial has already been carried out successfully on one Ford Escort.  In the new project, some 80 drivers will be monitored in sessions lasting 6-months each - checking their driving for a month before the limiter is switch on - for four months while it is on - then on the sixth month, without it.  
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Professor Carsten said: 'We want to assess whether the system changes people's driving habits.  Once the system is switched off, they may feel so liberated that they drive like a bat out of hell.  Alternatively, they might be more aware of speed limits and be better drivers.'   
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Initial tests showed drivers felt safer and had fewer near-misses with pedestrians or cyclists.  Jonathan Simpson, of the RAC Foundation, said: 'We think the real danger is that this system would put motorists on auto-pilot rather than, in any way, thinking about their speed.'
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Systems trials are underway... in Britain and the Netherlands.  Previously, trials were carried out in four different towns in Sweden, using four variations of a systems known as "Intelligent Speed Adaptation".  Read.  
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Comment... 2007.  The EU website is no longer saying anything about this system being introduced on all vehicles by 2010.  As far as this system goes... they say that drivers will be able to over-ride the system by press hard on the accelerator... in case of an emergency... but this fact will be recorded in some kind of 'black-box'.
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