European Parliament demands higher safety standards for new cars, vans and lorries

  • November 14, 2017

The European Parliament says all new cars sold in Europe should be fitted as standard with a range of life-saving technologies including automated emergency braking, intelligent speed assistance and seatbelt reminders in all seats. Safety campaigners say the technologies could be as important as the seat belt, but action is needed now because it will take years before the majority of cars on the roads have the technology.

Some 26,000 people died on EU roads last year, a figure that has hardly changed in three years.

The resolution was authored and approved by the Parliament’s Transport committee last month but today got backing from the full Parliament.  The European Commission is expected to publish its final legal proposals for revised vehicle safety standards by March next year.  Those plans would then need to be approved by EU member states and the Parliament.

Mandatory safety standards for new cars sold on the European market have not been updated since 2009.

The European Parliament’s report backs a range of new safety measures for cars and vans, as well as new requirements for lorries including direct vision requirements to improve visibility of pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in urban areas.

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council commented:

“These new vehicle safety measures are the EU’s best hope for restarting progress on road safety in Europe.  But they will take several years to take effect and even longer before the majority of cars on our roads all have these features. After several years of foot dragging, it is now absolutely critical that the European Commission publishes its proposals without any further delay.

“Making these proposed technologies mandatory could be as important as the introduction of the seat belt in safety terms, so we want to thank MEPs for taking such a positive stance on this issue.”

Carmakers in the United States have voluntarily agreed to fit automated emergency braking as standard by 2022, the feature is already offered either as an option or as standard on many vehicles in Europe.  ETSC is calling for systems that can detect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians to be fitted.

Intelligent Speed Assistance, an overridable technology that helps drivers keep to the current speed limit is already offered by several manufacturers in Europe including Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault and Volvo.

Presenting the European Commission’s future plans to MEPs last night in Strasbourg, the Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc called Intelligent Speed Assistance a “ground-breaking” technology and said, “the EU will absolutely be at the front run of car safety when these safety measures are put into effect”.