Industry and road safety groups call for urgent action on traffic deaths

Suppliers of equipment to the truck industry have joined a call for new minimum safety standards for new cars, vans and trucks to be urgently brought forward after years of delays. Industry groups along with NGOs, consumer organisations and cities last month told the European Commission to stop stalling on the new rules which are needed to bring down the number of deaths on Europe’s roads.

New minimum vehicle safety standards are ‘absolutely critical’ to reducing deaths and serious injuries on European roads, states the letter to EU industry commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska from the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), the European Cyclists Federation (ECF), POLIS, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and T&E. 25,500 people were killed in road collisions last year in Europe according to official data published in March, a figure far off the EU 2020 target.

The Commissioned promised in its Clean, competitive and connected mobility package to ‘complete a review’ of the general safety requirements for cars, lorries and buses ‘by the end of 2017’. Also, last year the European Commission published a list of 19 safety technologies that it is considering to make mandatory for new vehicles. But the groups say the Commission should now turn this into a formal legal proposal.

EU vehicle safety standards were last updated eight years ago and have been rendered partly obsolete by advances in technology since then. The technologies under consideration for new cars include Automated Emergency Braking, Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) as well as updates to crash testing requirements. For trucks the Commission is considering upgrading direct vision requirements so truck drivers can see cyclists and pedestrians more easily as well as barriers to prevent them being run over in the event of a collision.

In March transport ministers called for improved vehicle safety requirements and for the Commission to ‘accelerate’ the work on new standards. In May the European Parliament also called on the Commission to update vehicle safety regulations ‘without delay’.