The European Parliament is backing new measures to improve road safety and reduce road accidents.
The rules would make a number of safety features compulsory in new cars.
EU roads are the safest in the world with an average of 49 road fatalities per million inhabitants, against 174 deaths per million globally. Although road fatalities in the EU have more than halved in the last two decades, the latest figures show that the decline in the fatality rate is stagnating and that further efforts are needed to improve road safety and save lives.
During the plenary session on 11-14 March, the European Parliament greenlighted new rules to make advanced safety equipment mandatory in all new road vehicles sold on the EU market. The proposal also aims to adapt existing legislation to take into account technological developments and social trends such as an aging population, new causes of distraction for drivers (especially the use of electronic devices while driving) and the increasing number of bicycles and pedestrians on EU roads.
According to the ne wrules, all new vehicles will have to include a number of technologies:
- Intelligent speed assistance to alert a driver exceeding the speed limit by providing haptic feedback through the accelerator pedal
- Driver drowsiness and attention warning if alertness is insufficient
- Distraction warning to alert the driver if the level of visual attention to the traffic situation is low
- Emergency stop signal in the form of flashing lights to indicate to road users behind the vehicle that the driver is braking suddenly
- Reversing detection system to avoid collisions with people and objects behind the vehicle with the help of a camera or a monitor
- Tyre pressure monitoring system warning the driver when a loss of pressure occurs
- Alcohol interlock installation facilitation to prevent driving with an excess of alcohol by requiring the driver to blow into an in-car breathalyser before starting the vehicle
- Accident data recorder to register relevant data before, during, and after a road accident.
For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, it would also be mandatory to have emergency-braking systems and lane-departure warning systems (both already compulsory for lorries). Trucks and buses would be required to include direct vision features, allowing the driver to see vulnerable road users from their seat without using mirrors or cameras, and alert systems detecting the presence of cyclists and pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle.
Compulsory safety features should also help drivers to get used to autonomous technologies in vehicles and therefore increase public acceptance in the transition toward driverless cars.
The rules have to be negotiated with the European Council before they can enter into force.
Connected and automated mobility on EU roads
The European Commission also today adopted new rules stepping up the deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) on Europe's roads.
The new technology will allow vehicles to ‘talk' to each other, to the road infrastructure, and to other road users – for instance about dangerous situations, road works and the timing of traffic lights.
As of this year, vehicles, traffic signs and motorways will be equipped with technology to send standardised messages to all traffic participants around them.
The EC's specifications establish the minimal legal requirements for interoperability between the different cooperative systems used. Interoperability will enable all equipped stations to exchange messages with any other station securely in an open network.
The Commission decision takes the form of a delegated act. The publication of the delegated actis followed by a two-month period during which both the European Parliament and the Council may oppose its entry into force.
Vehicles equipped with Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems are already on the road today, albeit in limited numbers. In 2019, vehicle manufacturers across the EU are expected to start equipping their vehicles, and road operators to start equipping their roads with C-ITS technology.
Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems technology will normally be directly integrated into the vehicle. The total costs per car are estimated to be around €300, which is expected to drop as more vehicles are equipped. Some vehicle manufacturers may offer the technology as standard safety equipment.
For Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems to work effectively, road users need to be aware of each other's movements at all times. Thus C-ITS will frequently send information to other nearby vehicles (up to 1 km away). To limit the amount of personal data sent, these data are limited to what is necessary and do not include the driver's identity, nor that of the vehicle; a pseudonym is used instead, so others cannot identify you. Therefore, the new rules will also make C-ITS communications cyber secure and trusted. Drivers are kept informed of the data processing and the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems station can be turned off at any time.
With C-ITS a self-driving or a normal vehicle will be informed that there are vehicles around it, even if not immediately visible. Building on this experience, more advanced services will be developed in the future for instance to support self-driving vehicles to overtake efficiently or merge lines safely.