Ahead of new transport legislation set to be published next week, the European Commission is being urged to bring forward the implementation of tougher minimum safety standards for new vehicles.
In a letter to the Commission, written by a coalition of organisations including the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), new standards are described as ‘absolutely critical’ to reducing deaths and serious injuries on European roads.
In the UK, GEM Motoring Assist has welcomed the move, saying that lives are being ‘unnecessarily’ lost through delays in making the standards mandatory.
Neil Worth, GEM’s road safety officer, said: “These [new] technologies save lives and we urge policymakers to take bold steps to bring forward new minimum safety standards so that we can once again see significant and sustained reductions in the number of people killed on our roads.”
Despite what the coalition behind the letter describes as ‘rapid advances in technology’, EU vehicle safety standards were last updated eight years ago.
The ETSC says safer requirements have been expected for at least the last three years, but have been subject to numerous delays. The latest delay, announced in February, put the new proposals back to March 2018.
The coalition also says consumers may be getting the wrong impression about the safety of new vehicles – because new cars that currently only meet the minimum legal safety standards in the EU would receive zero stars in tests carried out by Euro NCAP.
Last year the European Commission published a list of 19 safety technologies, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), that it is considering making mandatory on new vehicles. The coalition is calling on the Commission to turn this into a formal legal proposal.