All new cars must feature 11 safety systems by 2021
- Thu, 17 May 2018 17:53
Autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, reversing cameras and driver fatigue detection will become mandatory on new cars by 2021, following the announcement of a fresh set of safety rules by the European Commission.
A total of 11 safety systems will become mandatory for new cars introduced to the market by that date. While details of all these systems are forthcoming, they are predicted to save 7,300 lives and avoid 38,900 serious injuries between 2020 and 2030.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) has long been expected to become mandatory on new cars; the system, which automatically applies a car’s brakes if a driver fails to slow for an obstacle – is estimated to bring about a 38 per cent reduction in rear-end collisions. Reversing cameras, meanwhile, recently became mandatory on new cars sold in America, and are predicted to save 95 US lives a year.
Another system set to become mandatory on new cars sold in the EU from 2021 is ‘over-ridable intelligent speed assistance’. While full details of what this comprises are forthcoming, it is likely to refer to adaptive cruise control, which matches a car’s speed to leading traffic, braking and accelerating automatically. Alternatively, the system could entail traffic sign recognition cameras working in harmony with a car’s cruise control, setting the car’s speed based on prevailing limits.
European lawmakers have been key to improving road safety over recent years, mandating the fitment of electronic stability control and Isofix child seat mounts to all new cars certified since 2011. Anti-lock brakes, meanwhile, have been fitted to all cars sold in the EU since 2004.
Traffic fatalities across the EU fell by 43 per cent between 2005 and 2015, but safety chiefs are concerned that the decline has slowed since 2014, with 25,300 people dying on EU roads last year. The safety new systems are being made mandatory in order to help achieve the EU’s Vision Zero project, which aims to move “close to zero fatalities and serious injuries [on the road] by 2050”, with an interim target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.
While consumers may well be concerned the addition of more mandatory safety systems will push up the price of cars, the European Commission says its analysis shows the additional systems will “have little or no impact on the price of new vehicles.” It has set aside €450 million (roughly £393 million) to EU member states “contributing to road safety, digitisation and multimodality [transport logistics]”
Other systems set to be introduced over coming years include pedestrian and cyclist detection for lorries, while the Commission will help EU member states “systematically identify dangerous road sections and to better target investment.”
Announcing the new safety measures, the European Commission’s head of markets, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said: "90% of road accidents are due to human error. The new mandatory safety features we propose today will reduce the number of accidents and pave the way for a driverless future of connected and automated driving."
The European Commissions says a further four mandatory safety systems will follow “a few years later”. While these have not been specified, calls have recently been made for the mandatory fitment of alcohol interlocks, which prevent a car from being started until a ‘clean’ breath sample has been submitted by the driver.
The proposals have been welcomed by the UK’s Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS). The PACTS executive director, David Davies, says the council “urges the Government to get behind the Commission’s proposals and ensure that they are adopted without delay”. Davies added adopting the new rules would be a “free lunch” for Government, as they would “not require Government spending”.
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