The Department for Transport (DfT) says new EU rules regarding speed limiters in cars would apply to the UK despite Brexit.
New cars sold in the UK from 2022 are set to have these devices fitted to stop them breaking the speed limit.
Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) was given approval by the European Commission. It is claimed the changes could help save more than 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.
Joshua Harris from road safety charity Brake said: “This is a landmark day for road safety. These measures will provide the biggest leap forward for road safety this century, perhaps even since the introduction of the seat belt.
"These lifesaving measures come at a vital time, with road safety in a concerning period of stagnation with more than 70 people still being killed or seriously injured on British roads every day."
AA president Edmund King said: “The best speed limiter is the driver’s right foot.
"There is no doubt that new in-car technology can save lives and there is a good case for autonomous emergency braking to be fitted in all cars.
"The right speed is often below the speed limit, for example, outside a school with children around, but with ISA there may be a temptation to go at the top speed allowed which may not be appropriate,’ he said.
“Sometimes a little speed also helps to keep safe on the road, for example, overtaking a tractor on a country road or joining a motorway.”
ISA prevents vehicles from speeding by limiting engine power, but the system can be overridden or temporarily switched off.
Speed limits are detected using a sign-recognition camera and GPS technology.
The approved mandatory safety features for cars, vans, trucks and buses also include a warning of driver drowsiness and distraction, such as when using a smartphone while driving, and a data recorder in case of an accident.
Devices for lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking and crash-test improved safety belts are suggested for cars and vans, while the legislation also addresses drink-driving, making it easier to retrofit an alcohol interlock device – used in a number of EU member states to tackle repeat drink-driving.
A DfT spokesman said: “These interventions are expected to deliver a step-change in road safety across Europe, including the UK.
“Intelligent Speed Assistance systems are expected to give drivers feedback when the speed limit is exceeded rather than limiting the speed, much like satellite navigation does now.”