Reports from a number of European news sources, including this Telegraph article, have suggested that the EU was planning legislation that would limit all cars to a maximum speed of 70 MPH. As you'd expect, there was a massive outcry because to hell with that. Luckily, no such limit appears to be happening.
The original articles in papers like the Daily Mail described a system that used cameras to read speed limit signs and GPS systems to track car speed, which would then apply brakes as needed to prevent the car from exceeding the posted speed. In the UK, this would effectively limit all cars to a top speed of 70 MPH.
Aside from the safety issues inherent in such a system — there's times when you need to speed away from a potential hazard — there are, of course, vast personal freedom issues at stake. It's Orwellian technology, and as such is pretty much universally unpopular.
The backlash against the alleged EU plan forced the EU to issue a statement on their blog:
Reports in the press over the last day or two have suggested that the EU intends to bring forward “formal proposals this autumn” to introduce automatic speed controls -known as “Intelligent Speed Adaptation” or ISA, into cars. This is quite simply not true and the Commission had made this very clear to the journalists concerned prior to publication.
The blog post makes it clear that while research into such technology was, in fact, occurring (and will continue), no actual laws or proposal of laws have been suggested. The blog entry goes on to quote from a Commission spokeperson a line that was ignored by most of the news outlets reporting on the story:
“The Commission has not tabled – and does not have in the pipeline – even a non-binding Recommendation, let alone anything more.”
Additionally, the articles fail to acknowledge that "actual decisions on EU law are taken by elected Ministers and MEPs, including those from the UK," meaning that it's not likely the EU could just push something like this on everyone without any debate.
So, European friends, this has all been a bad dream. Drive on, drive safely, and if it makes sense, maybe speed a little bit.