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New rules to improve road safety and enable fully driverless vehicles in the EU

The new Vehicle General Safety Regulation started to apply yesterday. It introduces a range of mandatory advanced driver assistant systems to improve road safety and establishes the legal framework for the approval of automated and fully driverless vehicles in the EU. The new safety measures will help to better protect passengers, pedestrians and cyclists across the EU, expectedly saving over 25,000 lives and avoid at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.

As the coming into force of the General Safety Regulation empowers the Commission to complete the legal framework for automated and connected vehicles, the Commission will deliver this summer technical rules for the approval of fully driverless vehicles, making EU a pioneer in the field. These will help to increase public trust, boost innovation and improve the competitiveness of Europe's car industry.

Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, yesterday said:

"Technology helps us to increase the level of safety of our cars. The new advanced and mandatory safety features will further help reduce the number of casualties. Today, we are also making sure that our rules enable us to safely introduce autonomous and driverless vehicles in the EU in a framework that puts the safety of people at the centre.”

Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for the Internal Market, yesterday said:

“Speed assistance, lane keeping and automated braking systems – our vehicles are increasingly automated. With the new vehicle safety legislation applying from today, Europe is making sure that this technology improves our citizens' daily life, and that the automotive industry has a predictable and safe framework to continue rolling out innovative technology solutions and maintain its global competitiveness.”

General safety rules

As of yesterday, the new measures introducing safety features to assist the driver include:

  • For all road vehicles (i.e. cars, vans, trucks and buses): intelligent speed assistance, reversing detection with camera or sensors, attention warning in case of driver drowsiness or distraction, event data recorders as well as an emergency stop signal;
  • For cars and vans: Additional features such as lane keeping systems and automated braking;
  • For buses and trucks: technologies for better recognising possible blind spots, warnings to prevent collisions with pedestrians or cyclists and tyre pressure monitoring systems.

The rules now apply to new vehicle types as of yesterday and to all new vehicles from 7 July 2024. Some of the new measures will be expanded to cover different kinds of road vehicles until 2029.

Technical rules for automated cars

Based on the General Safety Regulation the Commission is planning to adopt this summer technical rules for automated and connected vehicles, in particular focusing on  automated vehicles replacing the driver on motorways (level 3 automation) and  fully driverless vehicles like urban shuttles or robotaxis (level 4 automation).  The new rules will align EU legislation with the new UN level rules on level 3 automation and adopt new EU technical legislation for fully driverless vehicles, the first international rules of its kind. The technical rules set out via a delegated and implementing act will establish a comprehensive assessment of safety and maturity of the fully automated vehicles before they are placed on the EU market. They will cover testing procedures, cybersecurity requirements, data recording rules as well as monitoring of safety performance and incident reporting requirements by manufacturers of fully driverless vehicles.

Click here for the full press release


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