The European Parliament discussed on Monday 13 the procedure file “Saving lives: boosting car safety in the EU”.

The Committee on Transport and Tourism adopted the own-initiative report by Dieter-Lebrecht KOCH (EPP, DE) to propose ways to enhance vehicle safety in the EU, with particular regard to the monitoring and assessment of advanced vehicle safety features, their cost effectiveness and feasibility for the review of the regulation on general vehicle safety and the regulation on the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

The EU legislation on vehicle safety and its comprehensive package have had significant outcomes during the last 13 years. Studies have reported a considerable 53% reduction of road fatalities in the EU approximately between 2011 and 2014, a positive trend that leads to the goal of reducing road fatalities from the approximate 31 000 in 2010 to 15 000 in 2020.

Four main areas of action were identified and will be subject to further studies:

  1. Active safety measures to avoid accidents (automatic emergency braking, intelligent speed adaptation, lane keep assistance, driver drowsiness and distraction monitoring)
  2. Passive safety measures to mitigate accidents. These measures foresee the introduction of new requirements or enhancing of existing measures in the field of emergency braking display (flashing stop lamps), seat belt reminder, frontal crash testing, side crash testing, rear crash testing, alcohol interlock device interface standardisation, crash event data recorder and tyre pressure monitoring
  3. Trucks and buses, introducing or improving front-end design and direct vision, truck and trailer rear underrun protection (rear bumper), lateral protection (side guards) and fire safety for buses
  4. Pedestrians and cyclists, introducing pedestrian and cyclist detection (linked to automatic emergency braking systems), head impact protection on A-pillars and front windscreen, as well as reversing (backing up) detection of persons behind vehicles.

This report addresses all Member States to conduct efficient and regular checks on roads and drivers, introduce penalties and improve their road infrastructure, while it calls the Commission to take the following safety measures:

  • Introduce stricter controls for the proper enforcement of compulsory working-time limits and rest periods for drivers
  • Harmonise the EU blood alcohol concentration limit at 0.0% for new drivers in their first two years
  • Compulsory installation of automatic emergency braking assistants with detection of pedestrians, cyclists, light powered two-wheelers and motorcyclists in cars, light commercial vehicles, buses, coaches and, especially, heavy goods vehicles
  • Set common standards for the creation of corridors for emergency vehicle access on motorways
  • Examine the safety requirements for e-bikes and other electric mobility devices
  • Road signs to be kept in excellent condition and that road markings are clearly legible
  • Provide preconditions for installing alcohol interlock devices and systems to detect driver distraction and drowsiness
  • Compulsory installation of direct tyre pressure monitoring systems and intelligent seatbelt reminder systems for all front seats, for all vehicles and for rear seats of M1 and N1 vehicles
  • Improved energy-absorbing front underrun protection for all new trucks
  • Extension of the eCall installation requirement to motorcycles, heavy goods vehicles and buses and coaches.

The Commission will analyse the proposal and decide which will be brought forward in legislation. All decisions will aim not only at enhancing the safety of the European citizens, but also to boost Europe’s competitiveness and industry by investing in the creation of quality jobs in the field of technology and road safety, as well as supporting the automated-vehicle industry and greener transportation.