The European Parliament has voted through a package of new minimum vehicle safety standards which will improve the safety of all road users, especially those considered vulnerable.
Under the new legislation, which was approved by MEPs on 16 April, all new vehicles sold in Europe from 2022 will be fitted, as standard, with a range of new safety features including intelligent speed assistance (ISA).
For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the legislation also mandates autonomous emergency braking (AEB) – which is already compulsory for lorries and buses – as well as an emergency lane-keeping system.
New lorries will be required to have improved levels of ‘direct vision’ to give the driver a greater chance of seeing pedestrians and cyclists around the vehicle.
The DfT has earlier confirmed that the package of measures – which must still be approved by the EU Council of Ministers – will apply in the UK, whatever the outcome of Brexit.
Róża Thun, a Polish MEP who helped to steer the legislation through European Parliament, said: “This law is paving the way to save thousands of lives in the coming years. Our focus was always on the safety of road users, especially vulnerable ones.
“The additional obligatory equipment for cars, trucks and buses will help to save people’s lives.”
‘A massive step forward’
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has welcomed the outcome of the European Parliament vote and praised the package of measures for its focus on all road users, not just car occupants.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “Thanks to this legislation, the latest safety technologies will be fitted as standard on new vehicles in Europe.
“It’s a massive step forward that could prevent 25,000 deaths on our roads within 15 years.
“Importantly, the new requirements will also improve the safety of all road users, not just vehicle occupants.
“Lorry drivers will have better visibility of pedestrians and cyclists around their vehicles, all drivers will find it easier to keep within the posted speed limits, and automated emergency braking systems will be able to detect people, not just other vehicles.”