The European Commission has announced a fresh set of safety proposals, which would force all new cars to feature autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, reversing cameras, and driver fatigue detection by 2021.
A total of 11 systems will become mandatory for new cars introduced to the market by that date if the proposals are approved, saving an estimated 7,300 lives and preventing 38,900 serious injuries between 2020 and 2030.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) has long been expected to become mandatory on new cars. The system - which automatically applies a car’s brakes if a driver fails to slow for an obstacle - is thought to reduce rear-end collisions by 38 per cent. Reversing cameras, meanwhile, recently became mandatory on new cars sold in America, and are predicted to save 95 US lives a year. Under the proposals, all new cars brought to the EU market from 2021 must also feature ‘over-ridable intelligent speed assistance’. This will entail traffic sign recognition cameras working in harmony with a car’s speed limiter, automatically setting a car's top speed based on prevailing limits.
New cars will also have to be fitted with accident data recorders by 2021, logging telematics information following any collision. Pre-wiring for alcohol interlocks will also be required, allowing problem drink-drivers to easily have an interlock device fitted. This would prevent a car being started without a 'clean' sample of breath being provided. Emergency stop signalling - which flashes the hazard or brake lights when a car brakes heavily - are also set to become mandatory, as will improved seatbelts, side-impact protection systems and pedestrian impacts zones.
The 11 systems set to become mandatory in 2021:
Advanced emergency braking
Alcohol interlock installation facilitation
Drowsiness and attention detection
Event (accident) data recorder
Emergency stop signal
Full-width frontal occupant protection crash test - improved seatbelts
Head impact zone enlargement for pedestrians and cyclists - safety glass in case of crash
Intelligent speed assistance
Lane keeping assist Pole side impact occupant protection
Reversing camera or detection system
New vans brought to market by 2021 will be subject to the same proposals, though they won't have to come with advanced emergency braking. European lawmakers have been key to improving road safety over recent years, mandating the fitment of electronic stability control and Isofix child seat mounts to all new cars certified since 2011. Anti-lock brakes, meanwhile, have been fitted to all cars sold in the EU since 2004. Traffic fatalities across the EU fell by 43 per cent between 2005 and 2015, but safety chiefs are concerned that the decline has slowed since 2014, with 25,300 people dying on EU roads last year. The new safety systems are being made mandatory in order to help achieve the EU’s Vision Zero project, which aims to move “close to zero fatalities and serious injuries [on the road] by 2050”. An interim target of a 50 per cent reduction is in place for 2030.
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