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.”