Position Paper: Review of the Pedestrian Protection Regulation 78/2009

  • March 16, 2017

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to review the legislation on the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (VRUs). It is of paramount importance that the EU takes steps to improve the safety of this often neglected category of road users.

In 2013, 5542 pedestrians and 2002 cyclists were killed on European Union roads.  As more car occupant deaths are prevented every year due to better in-vehicle protection, the decrease in the number of vulnerable road users’ deaths and serious injuries has not followed the same pace. Thus there is an urgent need to further improve vehicle crash design for those outside of the vehicle.

Pedestrian protection measures on cars are there for when a collision occurs. Collision avoidance technology will reduce the number of collisions but it will not eliminate them all as in many cases pedestrians run or walk into the road when it is too late to avoid a collision. In the cases where collision avoidance systems are able to reduce the impact speed, they will complement but not replace the need for pedestrian protection through vehicle deformation.

As the EU has exclusive competence on vehicle safety measures and vehicle type approval under Article 114 of the EU treaty, this legally-binding tool represents one of the most direct and effective measures the EU has at its disposal to further reduce deaths and injuries on the road. Regulation 78/2009 is the only element in European legislation ensuring passive safety standards requirements that lead to ‘friendlier’ car fronts.