In a sweeping new provisional agreement, the European Parliament, Council, and Commission of the European Union have agreed to add a suite of 15 new safety technology requirements by 2022. The revisions to the General Safety Regulation for the EU are meant to protect passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The Commission estimates that the measures would save more than 25,000 lives and avoid many more serious injuries after enactment.
The new mandatory safety features include:
- For cars, vans, trucks and buses: warning of driver drowsiness and distraction (e.g. smartphone use while driving); intelligent speed assistance (ISA); reversing safety with camera or sensors; and data recorder in case of an accident (“black box”). ISA uses a speed sign-recognition video camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit and automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed. ISA systems do not automatically apply the brakes, but simply limit engine power preventing the vehicle from accelerating past the current speed limit unless overridden.
- For cars and vans: lane-keeping assistance; advanced emergency braking; and crash-test improved safety belts.
- For trucks and buses: specific requirements to improve the direct vision of bus and truck drivers and to remove blind spots; and systems at the front and side of the vehicle to detect and warn of vulnerable road users, especially when making turns.
The mandates are also meant to help usher in increasing degrees of automation in automotive. The agreement made by the trilogue negotiations in the EU’s institutions must now be formally approved by the European Parliament and Council. These changes would become mandatory as of 2022, though some have a longer time frame in order to make changes gradual for some commercial sectors.
The agreement and its mandated changes were the result of a public consultation and information gathering effort the European Commission began in 2017.