All cars could soon be fitted with a device that keeps them within the speed limit under new safety rules being considered by the EU to cut the number of road accidents.
New cars would need to have systems capable of detecting limits through cameras or satellites and automatically applying the brakes, while existing cars could be forced back to the garage to be fitted with the technology.
The plan would mean that no car in the UK could go over the 70mph speed limit for motorways.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin intends to fight the move after he was asked for his views ahead of formal proposals by the European Commission (EC) this autumn.
A Government source said: “It is definitely something that he is keen to resist and he has told officials that it is something we don’t want to do. To be forced to have automatic controls in your car amounts to Big Brother nannying by EU bureaucrats.”
The EC wants to roll out the Intelligent Speed Authority (ISA) technology in an attempt to cut the death toll from road collisions by a third by 2020.
More than 30,000 people die on the road in EU countries every year and 1.5 million are injured, with 120,000 left permanently disabled.
Accident Advice Helpline deals with thousands of cases every year in which a
car accident has left someone injured.
The UK still has one of the best road safety records in Europe, with deaths down from 1,901 to 1,754 last year, whereas in France a total of 3,645 people were killed in accidents last year, while Germany suffered 3,657 fatalities.
An EC spokesman said: “It is part of the commission’s job – because it has been mandated to do so by member states, including the UK – to look at, promote research into and consult stakeholders about new road safety technology which might ultimately save lives.
“This is done in close co-operation with member states and the UK has generally supported such efforts.”