Breaking The Limits



There has been a discussion on the call by the Road Safety Authority and others about the possibility of introducing speed limiters in cars. However, this technology is very new, and it would take many years for all car manufacturers to install them as standard. There is another system that could be introduced quickly.

Every car could be monitored with a GPS device linked to a mapping database that covers all roads and speed limits in Ireland.

The insurance company AXA introduced such a scheme for young drivers in 2012, and this allowed AXA to track driver speed and behaviour. The system could be modified so that if a driver was driving over the speed limit in a certain area, the driver is alerted and given time to reduce their speed.

Continuous driving over the speed limit would then result in penalty points and a fine.

In effect, it would be as if there was a continuous speed check on all cars at all times. Such a system would save many thousands of Garda hours in speed monitoring, and with a consequent reduction in speeding, would save many lives every year.

Seamus Lennon,

Speed limits and driver safety (Irish Times letters)

56 thoughts on “Breaking The Limits

  1. A Certain Ratio

    Seamus drives an 00 poverty-spec Corolla, in the overtaking lane, at a constant 15% below the arbitrarily low limit. I guarantee it.

    1. coco

      “Overtaking” lane? What? I just drive in whichever one has the least cars in front of me. Like queuing at tills in tesco.

    2. Niallo

      Nail on head, within 12 months only this numpty will be left on the roads, everyone else will be taxed… Oh i mean penalised out of existence.

  2. Gnalp

    You’d also be creating a database of the movements of every Irish citizen with a vehicle. This would be a personal data catastrophe waiting to happen.

    1. Disasta

      Why can’t it be completely anonymous?

      Create a system no one can access, the GPS in the car record driving speed on each section of road relative to the road speed and records nothing unless speeding occurs. If speeding occurs the GPS receives the signal to slow. If speeding is recorded continually an automated system ads points to a persons licence and informs them with an automatic letter to the address of the offending vehicle showing them where they speeded and for how long.


      No need to compromise anything.

      1. A Certain Ratio

        Apart from the basic principle that a government shouldn’t be monitoring its citizens’ movement. Your system would be broken and abused faster than a fresh altar boy.

        1. Disasta

          If you say so.

          Driverless cars eliminate all this anyway so it’s a mute point.
          Faster they are in the better, a huge proportion of people on the road shouldn’t be let anywhere near anything as dangerous as a hairdryer never mind a car.

          1. A Certain Ratio

            “moot” point. The Guards would require, or possibly be obliged to have access to this system, and as you know, they would bend it to suit themselves. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

            I do agree with you on the hairdryer thing. There should be driving tests on renewal, or incremental tests that lower your insurance, like negative penalty points.

          2. Jay

            Yup, won’t make any sense to do this given the likely rapid adoption of driverless cars. It already doesn’t make sense for me to own a car even with spending plenty on taxis. Saw a rough estimate of a cost price of 14cent a km for a driverless taxi. Probably looking at no more than 3 years before we see them rolling out here anyway.

            Also given that we actually have one of the lowest road fatality rates in the world I’d expect a cost benefit analysis of installing all those GPS units versus other measures would be fairly dismal.

          3. St. John Smythe

            I think driverless cars are further off then you think. The might come on the market, but I think uptake will be slow. Subconsciously, people understand that basically it’s a speeding death-box, completely under the invisible control of a computer, which may or may not be part of a robot/computer conspiracy to replace humans as the top tier of the world.

            Climb on in!

          4. Jay

            @ St John

            I know your reply isn’t entirely serious but anyway… First ones are expected for delivery end of next year at the earliest, but realistically I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of different models from different manufacturers till 2019/2020.

            As for adoption, I wouldn’t look at OWNING a self driving car. I think that’s mostly pointless. The attractive point is where you compare them to taxis and indeed all other forms of public transit. If you take my earlier example of 14 cent/km cost price and then double it for 100% margin you end up with 28 cent/km, this compares with a 3.60 min charge and 1.10/km in a regular taxi (this of course goes up at night).

            Put another way, you could travel almost 5,000km in an automated taxi instead of getting an annual Dublin Bus ticket.

          5. St. John Smythe

            my jokey post was not without some thought or ground – I think people will have a basic mistrust of driverless cars – Taxis or not.

            It took the Internet shopping with personal bank details about 10 years to catch on. And people give up a lot more/risk a lot more in a computer controlled car.

        1. Disasta

          Within in reason jackass.

          There is such things as security and assigning numbers not names to objects thus anonymising them.
          Another system would read this numbers and assign an address. So you’d have to crack 2 systems.
          Nothing is perfect.

          1. A Certain Ratio

            What you are describing sort of exists, the NVDF. Abused frequently by guards and friends of guards ;)

          2. classter

            Again, ‘jackass’, there is no such thing.

            And given that it would be tracking the movements of most citizens almost all of the time, I think it only right to point out that keeping such a system secure is next to impossible.

          3. classter

            Anyway, clearly a terrible idea.

            But, if it was being implemented, we could set up a sensible scheme of road pricing.

      2. Sheik Yahbouti

        Disasta, do you live in constant fear of your fellow human beings? I can sense a real pathology here.

      3. TheQ47

        You can’t automatically add points to someone’s licence, because you don’t know who was driving the car.
        Can you imagine how long it would take a system such as this to be implemented?

  3. Pretendgineer

    Here’s a great solution to some people sometimes breaking the speed limit – track absolutely everyone via GPS in a way that can certainly never be abused.

    1. Anne


      It’d be a no goer anyways, because the sneaking weasels hiding behind bushes in their speed vans wouldn’t make the tens of millions they currently make.

      1. Rob_G

        Anne: cares a lot about people dying in hospitals; cares a lot less about people dying on our roads.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          Yes, Anne may only care for one set of dying people.

          For myself I’m opting for those who die of suicide, which we have a higher rate of than road deaths.

        2. Anne

          Now Rob, where did I say I don’t care about people dying on our roads?

          I’m not inclined to want to have big brother watching the speed of my car… and every move I make for that matter. Where I go too, at what time.

          Radar speed signs could be just as effective as this monitoring of people.

  4. ahjayzis

    I’d be in favour of this only if it included driver-facial-monitoring-cameras and heartrate monitors so we can gauge how they’re feeling / acting in a bid to reduce road rage.

    1. A Certain Ratio

      All videos forwarded to CycleDub to review, for he decides who drives… and who dies!!

  5. Rob_G

    The margin of error in GPS tracking is too high – Strava gave me a time of 03:28 for running a kilometre there the other day.

  6. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

    Do you not have the beepers that beep loudly and incessantly when you go over there limit? Simpler no?

      1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

        My aunt had one in her car. It couldn’t be disconnected and drove you crazy if you went 1km over the speed limit. Very effective though!

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          That’s mad. I’d hate that. But it would be very very effective. I can see myself attacking the car with a spanner or something over the head of that.

  7. Condescending nana

    you take the speeding away from irish men sure then they’ll just have the footie and wife beating to express masculinity. a sad state of affairs.

    1. ethereal

      ah you forgot the other favoured pastimes of beer swilling, farting and belching

    2. St. John Smythe

      you can take Irish out of the sentence and it still holds true. I have a lot of experience driving in rural France and multicultural Berlin and I can tell you its the same, whether Irish, French, German or Turk.

  8. K Quinn

    Brilliant! Why stop at penalty points, though? Surely every right-thinking person would welcome a system where drivers receive a small electric shock delivered from the car’s battery every time they exceeded the speed limit. In fact, given that such a measure would definitely save lives, including the lives of children and puppies, only child-killers and puppy-murderers would object.

    Better still, why don’t we just give every driver an electric shock just for sitting into the car, as a way of encouraging people to cycle in the rain or take infrequent or non-existent public transport instead?

  9. Colin

    Once again someone who has been brain washed with the RSA simple minded propaganda. Speed doesn’t kill. 11% of Irish accidents are caused by speed. 11%. Look up their reports if you don’t believe me. But yet we spend millions trying to catch people doing it. How about we actually educate people? Train them? Perhaps a motorway driving test? Maybe educate people that toddling along at 80km/h in lane 2 of the M50 is actually pretty dangerous.

    Guys sitting in vans are doing nothing but promoting a ‘them and us’ attitude when a fine comes through the door. Have a Garda, pull someone over and actually explain what the motorist is doing wrong. It might spark a conversation at the pub or at the dinner table, and people might actually learn.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Maybe some teas and biscuits while they’re at it. Driving fast is hard work!

  10. Caroline

    I think I speak for all lawyers in the country when I say “Great idea Seamus”.

Comments are closed.