Seatbelt reminder systems will become mandatory on every new car seat – front and rear – from September 2019, as part of new regulations being adopted by the EU.
Existing EU vehicle safety rules, agreed in 2009, only require seatbelt reminder systems on the driver’s seat.
Under the new regulations, set out by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), front seat systems will need to be able to detect a passenger sitting – and make an audible warning at the start of the journey if the belt is not attached.
The requirements for rear seats differ slightly in that the audible warning will only sound if a belt is unbuckled during the journey.
The new regulations have been welcomed by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), who describes the move as ‘a step forward for vehicle safety in Europe’.
The ETSC estimates that seatbelt use in cars in the EU is at 88% for front seats and as low as 74% for rear seats in the countries that are monitoring wearing levels.
The ETSC suggests that – across the EU – 900 deaths could have been prevented in 2012 if 99% of all occupants had been wearing a seatbelt – a rate it says ‘could be reached with seatbelt reminders’.
Elsewhere, Transport Xtra is reporting that all new electric vehicles must be fitted with a noise generator – as part of seperate, new UNECE regulations – from July 2019.
The move is designed to improve the safety of pedestrians.