All new vehicles will need to be fitted with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) by 2021, under new proposals.
Outlined yesterday (17 May), the proposals are part of the European Commission’s (EC) Third Mobility Package, which sets out to allow all drivers to benefit from safety enhancements, less polluting vehicles and more advanced technological solutions.
Under the proposals, every new car sold in the EU would have to satisfy 11 new safety rulings, mandating technologies such as AEB and ISA, as well as built in breathalysers, lane-keeping assist and drowsiness detection.
The Third Mobility Package, which also includes new targets to halve road deaths and – for the first time, serious injuries – in the decade to 2030, will need to be approved by 28 member states and the European Parliament.
Violeta Bulc, EC commissioner for transport, said: “Over the past year, this Commission has put forward initiatives addressing the challenges of today and paving the way for the mobility of tomorrow.
“These measures constitute a final and important push so that Europeans can benefit from safe, clean and smart transport.”
The announcement has been welcomed by a number of road safety stakeholders from the UK and mainland Europe, including Brake – who describes the proposals as a ‘huge leap forward for EU road safety’.
Joshua Harris, Brake’s director of campaigns, said: “This proposal is hugely significant, marking the next chapter in European road safety and putting us back on the path to vision zero – a world with zero road deaths and serious injuries.
“These proposals will get the latest lifesaving vehicle technologies on our roads, a move long called for Brake, preventing crashes and helping reduce their impact.
“It is now up to the UK Government, and others across the EU, to ensure this proposal becomes law and they must deliver.”
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is also backing the proposals and calling on the UK Government to follow suit.
David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said “This is an opportunity to ensure that modern safety features are fitted as standard, not as options.
“Over the years, the UK has been at the forefront of developing safer cars and higher standards in Europe. PACTS urges the Government to get behind the Commission’s proposals and ensure that they are adopted without delay.”
Thatcham Research describes the measures as some of the most significant in the past decade and is calling for the UK Government and vehicle manufacturers not to stall in making AEB mandatory on all cars and vans.
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham, said: “Just as seat belts are a legal requirement on all cars and vans, AEB should be as well.
“We would hope that no blockers are put in the way by carmakers or parliamentarians around making these technologies mandatory on all UK cars and vans as soon as possible.”
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says the new safety standards could prevent 25,000 deaths within 15 years.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “Taken together, the announcements could represent the biggest step forward in road safety in Europe since the introduction of the seat belt.
“It is absolutely crucial that EU member states and the European Parliament give their backing to the plans and do not give in to pressure from car manufacturers, who are already attempting to weaken parts of the vehicle safety proposal.”