EU takes strides in road safety

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The European Union has agreed on legislation which will mean that new trucks, vans, cars, and buses are to be equipped with advanced safety features, such as direct vision technology, intelligent speed assistance and advanced emergency-braking systems.

Some 25,300 people died on EU roads in 2017 and 135,000 were seriously injured.

It has been estimated that the Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) system could reduce fatalities on EU roads by 20 per cent.  “ISA will provide a driver with feedback, based on maps and road sign observation, always when speed limit is exceeded. This will not only make all of us safer, but also help drivers to avoid speeding tickets,” said Parliament’s rapporteur Róża Thun.

Trucks and buses will be required to be designed and built to enable vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, to be more visible to the driver. Big vehicles will be equipped with additional advanced features like pedestrian and cyclist collision warning and blind spot information system. This direct vision technology should be applied from November 2025.

Other features to be required includes automated emergency breaking, advanced driver distraction warning, emergency lane keeping, reversing detection system, alcohol interlock installation facilitation and emergency stop signal. Likewise, all vehicles will need to be equipped with event data recorders which will store critical crash-related data a few seconds before a crash, enabling accident analysis to help reduce any future accidents.

“This legislation 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,” said Thun. “This regulation deals in the most direct sense with life and death. It introduces advanced systems that assist car users, instead of merely informing them. The additional obligatory equipment for cars, trucks and buses will help to save people’s lives”.

And commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. We can and must act to change this.

“With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced. Many of the new features already exist, in particular in high–end vehicles. Now we raise the safety level across the board, and pave the way for connected and automated mobility of the future.”

The agreement is still within its provisional stages and awaits confirmation from member states’ ambassadors and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. It will then be put to the full Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers for final approval.

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