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European Commission outlines plans for new vehicle safety technologies

Active and passive safety including automatic emergency braking systems and active lane keeping technology could be mandatory on new vehicles in the future under European Commission plans.

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MEPs are calling for new car safety tech to be fitted as standard.

The EU has set out a report that details 19 technologies which it said could decrease the number of road victims and help prevent accidents.

These measures include the introduction of active systems such as automatic emergency braking systems and active lane keeping technology, enhancement of passive safety features such as seat belt reminders on all seats, as well as improved pedestrian cushioning in case of head impacts onto the front of cars and bicyclist detection in case of imminent collision.

Other areas of high interest concern the improvement of direct vision and elimination of blind spots on trucks to protect vulnerable road users. The plans would see technologies introduced from 2020 for new vehicle type approvals up to 2030 for new vehicle registrations.

In response, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said it welcomed the announcement but added that several critical areas for action are missing, and the proposed timescale is far too long considering that most of the technologies are already available today.

The ETSC particularly welcomed the plans for Automated Emergency Braking, Intelligent Speed Assistance and seat-belt reminders but said the true safety potential will only be realised if the more advanced versions of the systems are introduced, and on a shorter timescale than that proposed by the European Commission.

It also questioned the lack of reference to alcohol interlocks, front-end design of lorries and new crash tests, where it said the Commission should look at a new test critical to improving pedestrian protection.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, added: “These long-overdue changes are a step in the right direction for road safety in Europe. But giving the industry 14 years to implement some of the measures is incomprehensible, especially in light of the recent lack of progress in reducing deaths.

“There is also a sense of a growing inequality in road safety. With these proposals, drivers of more affordable vehicles will have to wait almost a decade to get guaranteed access to life-saving technologies that are available today on more expensive cars.  And yet again, changes which will benefit pedestrians and cyclists are getting a lower priority with these plans. The Commission must look again at the requirements and deadlines before its legal proposal next year.”

All the safety measures outlined in the Commission report will be followed by an impact assessment that will contain a cost/benefit analysis and will include a public consultation and a stakeholder debate.

Depending on the results of the consultations, the Commission will consider the following steps. The Commission will then move forward on the measures that are seen to produce a clear benefit.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.