As of mid-2022, all new cars put on the EU market will have to be equipped with advanced safety systems. Following an agreement with the European Parliament last March, the Council today adopted a regulation on the general safety of motor vehicles and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users in a bid to significantly reduce the number of road casualties.
The new regulation stipulates that approximately 30 different technologies or systems must be introduced in new vehicles of different types. According to the agreement, most technologies will become mandatory in May 2022 for new vehicle models and in May 2024 for existing models. The European Commission expects the proposed measures to help save more than 25,000 lives and prevent at least 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.
The agreement covers 12 new safety technologies for passenger cars:
intelligent speed assistance (ISA);
alcohol interlock installation facilitation;
driver drowsiness and attention warning systems;
advanced driver distraction warning systems;
emergency stop signals;
reversing detection systems;
event data recorders;
accurate tyre pressure monitoring;
advanced emergency braking systems;
emergency lane-keeping systems;
Pole side impact occupant protection;
enlarged head impact protection zones capable of mitigating injuries in collisions with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
ISA systems were particularly controversial. These systems use video cameras to detect speed signs and/or GPS-linked speed limitation data to inform drivers of the current speed limit and automatically limit the vehicle's speed if necessary. However, ISA systems are not designed to automatically brake, but to limit engine power so that the vehicle does not accelerate beyond the current speed limit unless it is overridden.
In particular, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) actively lobbied against the introduction of ISA systems. ACEA claims that ISA is still deficient in practice due to wrong traffic signs and outdated information. In addition, cameras cannot predict all scenarios, for example due to visual impairments. Instead, Speed Limit Information (SLI) systems "in combination with better enforcement and driver training" are an "effective alternative". Instead of actively reducing speed, SLI systems only display warnings that can be ignored.
- Press release of the EU Council, 8 November 2019.
- Car lobby opposes EU safety bid that 'would save 1,300 lives a year', The Guardian, 13 December 2018.