New minimum EU vehicle safety requirements will come into force from 2022. The European Parliament has backed the legislation, following a provisional deal reached by the EU institutions last month. 

Under the new legislation, new cars, vans, trucks and buses sold in Europe will be fitted as standard with a range of new vehicle safety features such as Automated Emergency Braking which can detect pedestrians and cyclists, as well as overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance. New trucks will be required to have improved levels of “direct vision” to give drivers a greater chance of seeing vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists around the vehicle.

“Thanks to this legislation, the latest safety technologies will be fitted as standard on new vehicles in Europe,” said Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). “It’s a massive step forward that could prevent 25,000 deaths on our roads within fifteen years. Importantly, the new requirements will also improve the safety of all road users, not just vehicle occupants. Lorry drivers will have better visibility of pedestrians and cyclists around their vehicles, all drivers will find it easier to keep within the posted speed limits, and automated emergency braking systems will be able to detect people, not just other vehicles.”

The legislation also makes it easier to retrofit an alcohol interlock device – a technological solution for tackling repeat drink driving in use in a number of EU Member States.

New vehicles will also be fitted with Electronic Data Recorders. Data from a few seconds before, during and after a collision will be recorded, in order for analysis to take place that could help prevent future collisions.