All new cars sold in Europe should be fitted as standard with a range of life-saving technologies including automated emergency braking, intelligent speed assistance and seatbelt reminders in all seats, says the European Parliament.

A resolution calling for the safety features was authored and approved by the Parliament’s Transport committee last month. It has now received backing from the full Parliament. The European Commission is expected to publish its final legal proposals for revised vehicle safety standards by March next year. The plans would then need to be approved by EU member states and the Parliament in order to become law.

“These new vehicle safety measures are the EU’s best hope for restarting progress on road safety in Europe,” said Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council. “But they will take several years to take effect and even longer before the majority of cars on our roads all have these features. After several years of foot dragging, it is now absolutely critical that the European Commission publishes its proposals without any further delay.

“Making these proposed technologies mandatory could be as important as the introduction of the seat belt in safety terms, so we want to thank MEPs for taking such a positive stance on this issue.”

Some 26,000 people died on EU roads last year, a figure that has hardly changed in three years.

Mandatory safety standards for new cars sold on the European market have not been updated since 2009.