New vehicles in Europe will need to be equipped with a range of new safety features from May 2022, under a proposal passed on Tuesday at a plenary session of the European Parliament.
The new features include automated emergency braking, an alcohol interlock device – a means of tackling drunk driving – sleep warnings, improved rear-view vision and electronic data recorders. They further include an overridable intelligent speed assistance system, which informs drivers when they pass speed limits, based on traffic maps and signs.
Rapporteur Róza Thun said that the European Parliament was not introducing new speed limitations but “a smart system that will warn the driver” when he or she is speeding, thus guaranteeing not only the safety of all road users but also saving the driver from receiving speeding tickets.
European Parliamentarian Marc Tarabella explained that the system helps drivers to avoid speeding by increasing the pressure on the accelerator when the speed limit is reached. The driver can overcome this resistance by pressing harder on the pedal, which enables him or her to realize that he/she is going over the speed limit, the Belgian Euro-parliamentarian added.
He also noted that, in its impact assessment study on the measure, the European Commission clearly mentions that the vehicles will not be more expensive to buy.
Private and light utility vehicles will also need to be equipped with emergency braking systems, already mandatory for trucks and buses, as well as an emergency lane-keeping system.
Most of these systems and devices will become mandatory for new vehicles from May 2022 and for existing models from May 2024.
Trucks and buses will need to be built so that the most vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, are more visible to their drivers (direct vision). Their vision systems will also need to reduce blind spots.
Further, the new rules will improve passive security requirements, such as crash tests and windscreens, to limit the severity of injuries to pedestrians and cyclists knocked down by motorists.
The certification of tyres will also be improved in order to make sure used tyres are really tested.
The new regulation, which was adopted at a plenary session by 578 votes to 30, with 25 abstentions, still needs to be submitted to the EU Council of Ministers for approval.