The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is calling on the UK Government to act on proposals from the European Commission to support technology to improve vehicle safety.
David Davies, PACTS Executive Director, said “EU vehicle safety regulations have not been updated since 2009. This is an opportunity to ensure that modern safety features are fitted as standard, not as options. Over the years, the UK has been at the forefront of developing safer cars and higher standards in Europe. PACTS urges the Government to get behind the Commission’s proposals and ensure that they are adopted without delay.”
The changes to regulations reflect technological advances in automated in-built vehicle safety systems, such as autonomous emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists as well as other motor vehicles. Intelligent Speed Assistance would help motorists to keep to speed limits. Some measures expected to be included are simpler, such as improved seat-belt reminder systems for all seats. There is also likely to be a requirement for “black boxes” which would record collision details.
Davies added, “This is a free-lunch for the Government. These proposals will not require government spending. The cost to motorists and businesses will be small as many modern vehicles are already fitted with these safety features. It will be excellent value for money as road collisions and casualties have huge social costs – £36 billion in 2016 for the UK. Road deaths and serious injuries in Europe and in the UK have declined little since 2010. This could bring casualty numbers down substantially.”
The changes would be included in revisions to the EU General Safety Regulation and Pedestrian Safety Regulation, govern the minimum safety standards for all new vehicles sold in the EU.
PACTS points out that the UK Government is strongly supporting the development of autonomous vehicle. Many of the safety features proposed by the EC will be also be integral to driverless vehicle technology.
Today’s proposals for new safety regulations form part of a larger set of updated EU transport policies known as the ‘Third Mobility Package’, including improved standards for road infrastructure safety and new targets to cut death as serious injury. According to the European Transport Safety Council, established by PACTS in 1993, these would be significant measures to improve road safety in the European Union.