​​Driving at an appropriate speed is an important part of any professional taxi driver’s work. But we all know how easy it is to creep over the limit when a passenger is in a hurry or we get distracted.

To help all drivers stick to the limit, the government has decided that all new vehicles will now have to be fitted with a speed limiter. Wondering what a speed limiter is, how it could affect your driving and what to look out for when buying a new taxi in 2022? If so, read our Taxi Insurer ultimate guide to these important new safety devices.

Reducing accidents and ensuring safer driving are bound to have an effect on taxi insurance premiums in the future. After all, if there are less accidents, there’ll be less claims and taxi insurance will inevitably become even better value.  

 

london cab driving quickly through London

 

Why speeding is so dangerous and how speed limiters could play a part

 

According to road safety charity Brake someone is killed or seriously injured on UK roads every 22 minutes.

There are many causes behind these accidents, but the police have found that exceeding the speed limit and travelling too fast for the conditions contributes to 27% of fatal collisions. As well as 16% of collisions resulting in serious injury and 13% of total collisions.

Data from 2020 shows over 200 people were killed in collisions involving someone exceeding the speed limit. Around 1,368 people were seriously injured and 115 people died because someone was travelling too fast for the road conditions.

But this could be only the tip of the iceberg, as inappropriate speed also intensifies other driver errors. For example, if you’re driving too fast then being too close to the vehicle in front or driving when tired or distracted is more likely to lead to a serious collision.

With inappropriate speed being one of the most serious road safety problems in the UK, today there’s much work being done by the government, public bodies and charities to help.

These include law enforcement measures, education and training of drivers, highway design, and vehicle engineering. The introduction of speed limiters is a key part of that coordinated speed management strategy.

According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) speed limiters could be the most effective new vehicle safety technology with the potential to save countless road users from death and injury. Indeed, the ETSC hopes that if speed limiters are used effectively, traffic collisions will be reduced by 30% and accidental deaths on the roads by 20%. If such hopes become reality, then they are to be welcomed.

Positive impacts you could also see as a taxi driver include increased traffic calming, reduced taxi insurance costs, higher fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. A win-win situation for anyone who spends so much time on the road.

 

New rules on speed limiters from 6th July 2022

 

Back in 2019 the European Parliament gave the green light to plans to ensure all new vehicles would have to be fitted with speed limiters (also known as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology).

Manufacturers are being given plenty of time to adjust to the changes, and on 6th July 2022 it will become a legal requirement.

Although Brexit means the UK is no longer bound by EU legislation, the government has decided to follow the EU regulations here. This is to help manufacturers standardise their processes for different markets. It also makes life much simpler for us drivers.

So, if your taxi firm is planning on buying a new car for the fleet after this summer then you can expect it to come pre-fitted with a speed limiter.

Indeed, many new vehicles from the likes of Citroen, Renault, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Peugeot and Volvo have already been fitted with speed limiters for some time now. Renault and Volvo have even gone further and promised to set a top speed limit of 112mph as well.

While it seems that eventually all cars will have speed limiters fitted as standard, currently there are no plans to force owners of older vehicles to retro-fit the technology. With the ever-changing rules and regulations around driving, this is a welcome relief for many taxi drivers.

As well as arranging the right taxi insurance for your needs and budget, here at Taxi Insurer, we also want to help make life that bit more straightforward. Read our recent guide to the laws you need to follow to keep yourself informed and on the right side of the authorities.

 

What are speed limiters and how do they affect drivers?

 

As the name suggests, a speed limiter is a device fitted to a vehicle that stops the driver from driving above a certain speed. However, before you start writing letters complaining about the potential safety implications, in reality things aren’t as dramatic as that.

As any taxi driver knows there can be times where, to stay safe, you do need to breach the speed limit. For example, you might need to accelerate out of a risky traffic situation.

In order for speed limiters to be safe they use GPS and/or traffic sign recognition cameras to monitor road signs and determine the speed limit on the particular road where you’re travelling. If you go above that limit then they either display or sound a warning to you, or take measures to slow the vehicle down.

However, don’t worry, all of these can either be ignored or overridden very easily. They don’t affect the braking system and won’t prevent the car from being driven faster. You’ll be pleased to hear that you as the driver will always remain in complete control of the vehicle and its speed.

Depending on the manufacturer of your vehicle, there are several different ways in which the speed limiter can intervene when a driver exceeds the speed limit. These are:

  • A speed control system automatically kicks in and reduces the engine’s power once the speed limit is breached. The driver can simply override this by continuing to press the accelerator pedal.
  • A mechanism gently pushes back when the driver’s foot tries to depress the accelerator pedal further. This is overridden by the driver pressing down more firmly.
  • Flashing visual signals to alert the driver to the fact they’re over the speed limit. If the driver doesn’t slow down then this is followed by an audio warning. If warnings are still ignored then both visual and audio warnings will be used, before timing out.
  • A visual warning followed by vibrations through the accelerator pedal if the speed doesn’t drop. Again, these can be ignored and will eventually time out.

As you can see, no matter what intervention is used, the driver can still exceed the speed limit if necessary. But while the system can be overridden it will reactivate every time the car is restarted.

Be aware, a speed limiter acts as a speed warning system. This is different to cruise control which aims to prevent fatigue and can make very long journeys easier.

Over the next few years, data will be collected by manufacturers to work out which of these interventions are the most effective. For example, some motoring associations and drivers’ groups have expressed concern that the warnings themselves may be a distraction to drivers and negatively impact road safety.

This analysis will then be used to decide which type of speed limiter should be adopted in the future. So, there may yet be further changes to the law in this area. If you’re considering a new taxi for your fleet then it’s well worth asking how the speed limiter works for that car.

 

Can you remove a speed limiter?

 

As already mentioned, it’s easy to ‘turn off’ your vehicle’s speed limiter by simply ignoring the warnings or continuing to push down on the accelerator. If you find this too much of a hassle then it is still your car and there are ways to have it modified and the speed limiter removed.

However, removing such a safety mechanism will require some professional know-how and may well affect your taxi insurance policy. Plus, what happens if the law changes in future years, and speed limiters become mandatory in all vehicles? You’ve then got to go to the time and expense of replacing the speed limiter.

Can you really afford to get rid of something designed to warn you about your speeding? As a professional taxi driver, if you’re caught speeding the impact can be huge.

A fixed penalty notice will result in a minimum of a £100 fine and three points on your licence, but your local licensing authority could also decide to strip you of your taxi licence. Even if you’re offered a speed awareness course as an alternative, you’ll still have to pay £100 to attend the course. Not to mention the time off work.

A serious motoring offence can even result in a court summons. So why not save yourself the time, expense and stress by keeping the speed limiter on your vehicle? It’ll improve your chances of keeping a spotless licence, and saving yourself some hard-earned cash into the bargain.

Driving convictions will impact how much you pay for taxi insurance. That’s why it pays to speak to the specialists at Taxi Insurer who can help you source the right cover for the right price.

 

speed limiter dashboard 

 

What to look for when buying a new taxi vehicle in 2022

 

As a taxi driver, feeling safe behind the wheel has to be one of your biggest priorities when choosing a new car to add to your taxi fleet. Whether you’re a big city driver or ply your trade in more rural areas, knowing that your taxi comes with an excellent safety rating will completely change your driving experience.

Whether 2022 is the year you electrify your business or you’re looking for a classic SUV, there are some great and safe options around.

It’s not just speed limiters you’ll be on the lookout for. There are plenty of other new vehicle safety tech developments now available. These include:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
    Usually available as an option, but increasingly fitted as standard. AEB monitors the road ahead and alerts the driver to any potential collision. If no action is taken by the driver, the AEB system will automatically perform an emergency stop. Who knows, if your taxi has AEB, you might even get reduced taxi insurance premiums.
  • Lane-keeping assistance
    Some basic systems simply warn the driver if they’re straying out of their lane. More advanced systems will automatically make steering adjustments to keep you within the lane.
  • Reversing sensors and cameras
    Good all-round visibility is so important for drivers. But when it comes to any modern car design there can sometimes be trade-offs with safety measures used to strengthen the cabin to withstand crashes. To compensate for any reduced visibility there’ll often be a range of cameras and sensors to alert the driver to any obstacles.
  • Attention monitoring systems
    Taxi drivers can sometimes work long hours behind the wheel so fatigue can be a problem. These systems monitor the driver's responses, looking for signs that might indicate it’s time to take a break.

Apart from seatbelts, dual-stage airbags and good head restraints there are other safety mechanisms worth looking out for, too. These include electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), adaptive cruise control, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), active headlights and tyre-pressure monitoring systems.

Consumer champion Which? has a great article explaining many of the car safety features now available.

Manufacturers have been very busy getting ahead of these changes in driving safety laws. So, what are some of the best options for new taxis that put safety at a premium?

 

Skoda Enyaq iV

 

The all-electric Skoda Enyaq iV is one of the safest SUVs on the market and offers heaps of space for passengers and their luggage. Be aware that ticking too many optional extras can soon inflate the price. Skoda models are a firm favourite among taxi drivers, offering a host of fantastic driver assistance systems, safety features and comfort. It’s easy to see why both the Skoda Octavia and Skoda Superb made our list of best new cars for taxi fleets in 2021.

 

Volkswagen ID.4

 

When Addison Lee announced that all its passenger cars will be fully electric by 2023 what car did it choose? Yes, you got it. The taxi company is spending millions on a fleet of pure electric Volkswagen ID.4s. And no wonder, the Volkswagen ID.4 is an advanced EV that has proven to be one of the safest cars on the roads. With its hi-tech safety systems, great levels of comfort and decent range this would look impressive in anyone’s taxi fleet.

 

Ford Galaxy

 

The ever-popular Ford Galaxy is a great option for those looking for an MPV to add to their taxi firm offering. We all know about its incredible versatility, spaciousness, levels of comfort, and great handling but what about safety? Well, the Ford Galaxy is also packed with advanced driver assistance technology. From a speed limiter and adaptive cruise control to Active Park Assist and lane-keeping assistance, Ford has really thought of everything. From airport transfers to ferrying sports fans to an event this is a great vehicle for multi-passenger transport.

 

Mercedes E-Class

 

You’d expect any Mercedes to offer all the latest safety tech, and the luxurious E-Class is no exception. The E-Class is respected by taxi drivers and their passengers the world over for its unbeatable levels of comfort. As well as excellent safety features it also offers the taxi driver good fuel economy, reliability and plenty of space.

 

10 top tips for staying within the speed limit

 

Whether or not you approve of technological developments such as speed limiters, they are here to stay. So if you want to stay safe and in business you need to learn to live with them. Just like we do with speed cameras.

Fortunately, RoSPA has produced a guide to staying within the speed limit that’s well worth reading. No matter how experienced you are, reminding yourself of these 10 top tips is always worth your time.

  1. Always keep a watchful eye on your speed. Particularly when moving from higher speed roads to lower speed zones. And get your eyes tested regularly, so you don’t make any mistakes.
  2. Know the speed limits for wherever you’re driving. Look for signs if you don’t, and stay aware that limits can change several times over quite short distances.
  3. Unless signs say otherwise, then it’s normally safe to assume that the presence of lamp posts means a limit of 30mph. However, it could easily be 20mph or even be less.
  4. Despite the attitude of some road users, speed limits are not a target to hit. Always drive at a speed that’s appropriate to the road conditions. For example, when the surface is slippery you’ll be driving well under the sign-posted limit.
  5. In areas where children are likely to be about, 20mph is plenty. It may even be too fast.
  6. If you drive a manual car, try to stay below third gear in a 30mph zone.
  7. Do you have particular triggers that make you speed? Recognising these will help you control the impulse when it strikes.
  8. Stay focused. Reduce any distractions and never drive tired or under the influence of drink or drugs.
  9. Slow down when entering villages. Don’t be tempted to speed just because the road seems clear.
  10. Give yourself time. There’s really no need to speed. Plan your route carefully and factor in extra time for bad weather or heavy traffic.

Protecting your business with taxi insurance

 

From the latest taxi tech developments to smart ways to save on your taxi insurance, you’ll always find top advice here at Taxi Insurer.

The taxi insurance team can arrange policies to cover everything from single vehicles to entire fleets. We’ve spent many years working alongside our trusted panel of insurers, so you’ll be in the very safest hands.

Get a quick quote for Taxi Insurer taxi insurance today and protect your taxi or PHV business.

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