Thursday, 14 March 2019

EU - More life saving technology to be mandatory fit on all new vehicles including AEB, accident data recorder, driver drowsiness warning

In a drive to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on EU roads, Internal Market Committee MEPs approved on Thursday a set of rules to make several advanced safety features standard equipment in different categories of vehicles sold in the EU market. 

The advanced safety features which will become mandatory in all vehicles are:

  • Accident data recorder - a system recording and storing critical crash-related parameters and information before, during and after a collision
  • Advanced emergency - braking system (for cars and vans - already compulsory for trucks and buses)
  • Lane-departure warning system (for cars and vans - already compulsory for trucks and buses)
  • Intelligent speed assistance - a system to aid the driver in observing the appropriate speed for the road environment by providing haptic feedback through the accelerator pedal
  • A standardized interface facilitating aftermarket alcohol interlock devices being fitted in vehicles
  • Driver drowsiness and attention warning - a system assessing the driver's alertness through vehicle systems analysis and warning the driver if needed
  • Advanced driver distraction warning - a system capable of recognition of the level visual attention of the driver to the traffic situation and warning the driver if needed
  • Emergency stop signal - rapid flashing stop lamps to indicate to other road users to the rear of the vehicle that a high retardation force is being applied to the vehicle relative to the prevailing road conditions
  • Reversing detection - a camera or monitor, optical or detection system to make the driver aware of people and objects at the rear of the vehicle with the primary aim to avoid collisions upon reversing
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system (already compulsory on cars - now extended to all vehicle categories)

Manufacturers must ensure that these systems and features are developed in such a way so as to ensure that users accept them and that motor vehicles' user instructions contain clear and comprehensive information on how they function, MEPs stress. 
The Internal Market Committee also included requirements to protect vehicles against cyberattacks. MEPs amended the proposal to make sure that accident data recorders operate on a "closed loop system", whereby the data stored is overwritten, and which does not allow the vehicle or driver to be identified (data collected will be anonymised).

Specific Requirements for Trucks and Buses
Trucks and buses must be designed and built to make vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, more visible to the driver (so-called "direct vision"). According to MEPs, "this requirement shall remove the blind spots in front of the driver's seat and significantly reduce the blind spots through the side windows". Specificities of different types of vehicles must be taken into account, they add.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles
The new requirements relate mainly to the standards for materials and components used in these vehicles, as well as to test procedures.

Automated Vehicles
The proposed measures also pave the way to automated vehicles (where driver intervention is still expected or required) and fully automated vehicles (without any human supervision). 
Making advanced safety features mandatory for vehicles should help drivers to gradually get accustomed to the new features and should enhance public trust and acceptance in the transition toward autonomous driving.

From the Rapporteur
Róza Thun (EPP, PL), who is steering this legislation through Parliament, said: 
"Safety of road users, especially unprotected ones, is our focus. This regulation deals in the most direct sense with life and death. We concentrated all our efforts on saving lives and mitigating injuries. The additional obligatory equipment for cars, trucks and buses will save human lives. I am very proud of the European Parliament; despite all our differences, the members supported this ambitious proposal."

Next Steps
The amended proposal was approved in committee by 33 votes to two, with no abstentions.  The mandate to start negotiations with Council, endorsed by 31 votes to three, with no abstentions, is due to get the full House's green light in the 11-14 March plenary session. The implementation dates for the different safety requirements are specified in Annex II of the proposed regulation, which was also amended by MEPs to speed up their application.

Once approved, this legislation will replace the current General Vehicle Safety Regulation, the Pedestrian Protection Regulation and the Hydrogen-Powered Motor Vehicles Regulation.