EU acts to make European roads safer

The EU has unveiled rules that will force the adoption of technologies in vehicles designed to drastically reduce fatalities and injuries on European roads.

Changes to the General Safety Regulation, agreed by the European Commission, Council and Parliament, will make a host of technologies mandatory by 2022.

These include drowsiness and distraction warnings, intelligent speed assistance, telematics, advanced emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot reduction and systems for the detection and warning of vulnerable road users.

The European Commission believes the EU-wide mandatory adoption of these technologies will help save more than 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small- and medium-sized entities, 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 European Commission also said new advanced safety features will help drivers get gradually used to driving assistance, in preparation for autonomous driving.

The political agreement is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council. The new safety features will become mandatory from 2022, with the exception of direct vision for trucks and buses and enlarged head impact zone on cars and vans, which will follow later due to the necessary structural design changes.