Parliament approves EU rules requiring life-saving technologies in vehicles

Volvo

(Jim Basio, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Safety features such as intelligent speed assistance and advanced emergency-braking system will have to be installed in new vehicles as from May 2022.

“This law is paving the way to save thousands of lives in the coming years. Our focus was always on the safety of road users, especially vulnerable ones. The additional obligatory equipment for cars, trucks and buses will help to save people’s lives”, said Róża Thun (EPP, PL), who steered this legislation through Parliament. The provisional deal with EU ministers was reached on 26 March.

Vehicles better equipped to prevent accidents

The advanced systems that will have to be fitted in all new vehicles are: intelligent speed assistance; alcohol interlock installation facilitation; driver drowsiness and attention warning; advanced driver distraction warning; emergency stop signal; reversing detection; and event data recorder (“black box”).

The intelligent speed assistance (ISA) system could reduce fatalities on EU roads by 20%, according to estimates. “ISA will provide a driver with feedback, based on maps and road sign observation, always when the speed limit is exceeded. We do not introduce a speed limiter, but an intelligent system that will make drivers fully aware when they are speeding. This will not only make all of us safer, but also help drivers to avoid speeding tickets”, Ms Thun said.

For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, it will also be mandatory to have an emergency braking system (already compulsory for lorries and buses), as well as an emergency lane-keeping system.

Most of these technologies and systems are due to become mandatory as from May 2022 for new models and as from May 2024 for existing models.

Trucks and buses safer for cyclists and pedestrians

Trucks and buses will have to be designed and built to make vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, more visible to the driver (so-called “direct vision”). Those vehicles will have to be equipped with advanced features to reduce “to the greatest possible extent the blind spots in front and to the side of the driver”, says the text.

Direct vision technology should be applied to new models as from November 2025 and for existing models from November 2028.

Improved crash tests and windscreens

The new rules also improve passive safety requirements, including crash tests (front and side), as well as windscreens to mitigate the severity of injuries for pedestrians and cyclists. Type-approval of tyres will also be improved to test worn tyres.

Next steps

The regulation, approved by Parliament with 578 votes to 30, and 25 abstentions, will now be submitted for approval to the EU Council of Ministers.

In 2018, around 25 100 people died on EU roads and 135 000 were seriously injured, according to preliminary figures published by the Commission.

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