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Safer cars for safer roads: Council agrees to tougher rules on vehicle safety

The EU is introducing legislation which will require various safety features to be included on a range of vehicles with the aim of saving lives on Europe’s roads. The Council yesterday agreed its position on the new rules which means that negotiations can begin with the European Parliament as soon as it has adopted its position.

Norbert Hofer, Austrian Federal Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Technology yesterday said:

We must never let up in our efforts to make our roads safer for everyone. These new rules, which reflect the latest technical developments, will protect and help save lives.

Under the proposed regulation, vans and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) will no longer be exempt from various safety features which until now have only been required for ordinary passenger cars. These features include tyre pressure monitoring, intelligent speed assistance, alcohol interlock, driver drowsiness monitoring and emergency stop signals.

More advanced safety measures will be required for passenger cars and light commercial cars. These include event data recorders, which store data such as the car's speed or the state of activation of the car's safety systems before, during and after a collision, and enlarged head impact protection zones capable of mitigating injuries in collisions with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Specific safety rules will apply to trucks, buses, hydrogen-powered vehicles and automated vehicles.

The draft regulation updates existing rules on car safety contained in the General Safety Regulation (EC) 661/2009, the Pedestrian Safety Regulation (EC) 78/2009 and the Hydrogen Safety Regulation (EC) 79/2009.

The Commission will be able to update the technical specifications through delegated acts to take account of future technical developments.

EU statistics show that progress in reducing road fatalities in the EU has stalled in recent years. The proposed regulation aims to limit the number of fatalities and severe injuries due to road accidents. It is part of the third "Europe on the Move" mobility package.

Next steps

Once the European Parliament has adopted its own position at first reading, the Council will start negotiations with the Parliament with the aim of reaching rapid agreement.

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