New vehicle safety standards move step closer

13.34 | 21 February 2019 | | 6 comments

Image: ETSC

A key committee of MEPs has given the green light for a new package of mandatory minimum vehicle safety standards, bringing its implementation a step closer.

First announced in May 2018, the proposals would require every new vehicle to satisfy 11 safety rulings, mandating technologies such as AEB, ISA, built in breathalysers, lane-keeping assist and drowsiness detection.

More advanced safety measures, which will be required for passenger cars and light commercial cars, include event data recorders and enlarged head impact protection zones capable of mitigating injuries to vulnerable road users including pedestrians and cyclists.

If introduced in full, it is estimated that the measures could save 25,000 lives across the EU over the next 16 years.

The package was today (21 Feb) approved by members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) – meaning it could now be implemented within three years.

Ahead of the vote, a number of stakeholders – including Brake and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) – wrote a public letter urging officials to give their backing to the proposals.

The letter said the measures ‘represent a historic, once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically reduce the scourge of death and serious injury on Europe’s roads’.

Both Brake and the ETSC have welcomed the outcome of the vote, however the latter has warned that time is running out for a final deal on the legislation before European Parliamentary elections in May.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “This legislation represents a major step forward for road safety in Europe, and could save 25,000 lives within fifteen years of coming into force. But it will only apply to new vehicles.  

“So it’s incredibly important that a final deal is reached as soon as possible, so cars with these new safety features fitted as standard start driving off production lines sooner rather than later.”

Josh Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “This is a landmark day for road safety. The European Parliament has voted through life-saving safety standards for all new vehicles, which could save 25,000 lives in fifteen years.

“We now urge the final negotiations to take place as soon as possible, so we can make this step-change for road safety a reality.”

Brake recently published the findings of a survey which suggests that UK drivers are keen for the Government to ensure car safety standards don’t slip post Brexit.

More than 90% of respondents said they want UK car safety standards to remain at least as high as those across the EU.

Joshua Harris said: “As 29 March edges ever closer, UK drivers have made clear that, post-Brexit, they want the cars on our roads to meet the highest safety standards possible – but they don’t want the money in their pockets to take a hit.”



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    ISA may not be the panacea to all ills. Ok for urban areas in principal and where overtakes are far less frequent.

    What would happen for small commercials [ vans] that are restricted on some roads. Where the limit is 60 mph on single carriageways but they should not be driven at speeds in excess of 50 mph. Or on dual carriageways where the speed limit is 70 mph but they are not to be driven at speeds in excess of 60 mph. What limit will be adopted for those vehicles in those circumstances.

    Further whilst the speed limit for HGV’s has recently been increased to 50 and 60 mph on some roads they do still drive at their maximum speed of 56 mph on most faster roads. What happens to them ? Will they and smaller vans have their vehicles speeds sets to the lawfull speed limits for their vehicles or still adopt the speed limit for that road and signage?.

    As regards to motorcycles that frequently consider it necessary to overtake and thus break the speed limit in doing so, will they be regulated as well as either way that could have a safety effect that needs to be considered.

    Would any allowance be made for the so called differential allowed for speedometer readings at all?

    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    The questions I would like answered is just who sets and what are the agreed settings for AEB. What will be the following on or safe stopping distances with perhaps the thinking distances taken out.

    At what speeds are they operating at. Is it in some cases 18 mph., 30 mph or up to a 70 mph or above.

    Can the AEB be turned off or altered by the driver?

    I would also like to ask if there are any automatic changes to these stopping distances, extending them if it is actually raining or snowing and does it or will it recognise merely just a wet road surface as that is just as dangerous.

    Will the setting accommodate both?

    If not then they are an accident just waiting to happen.

    Any answers or comments?

    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    I presume Rod meant to say “But for most roads, in urban areas, 20 will be plenty..” and not all roads!

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Good news but why wait 3 years for minimum safety standards to be legally compliant. 3 months seems feasible. Often you pay extra to have safety features on basic vehicles that come as standard on more expensive models. The tech is small enough to be easily added to all models.

    Elisa Brady, London
    Agree (0) | Disagree (3)

    That gives good time to get the right speed limits in before ISA comes in. ISA with speed limits set too high would not be as useful as with the right speed limits. And where pedestrians and cyclists mix with motor vehicles that should be 20mph according to WHO, OECD, ETSC and many others. By all means have higher speed limits where segregated facilities and crossings exist and they can be justified. But for most roads 20 will be plenty and will make our communities better places to be for all.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (3) | Disagree (5)

    The new features will have an implementation period of at least 3 years and the average age of a car in the UK is 7 + years old. I believe the average age of a car in Europe is around 11 years old. Therefore it is going to be more than a decade before substantial numbers of cars equipped with these new features arrive to mass market second hand car buyers in the UK and longer still for the rest of Europe.

    Still, the sooner we start, the better, just don’t over-egg the likely benefits in the meantime.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

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