From May 2022 for new models and from May 2024 for existing models, cars must be equipped with more life-saving technology. The new rules will introduce about 30 life-saving technologies.
For big vehicles like trucks and buses that often cannot see a pedestrian or a cyclist because of a blind spot in front of the driver and on the side, the new rules foresee design changes to give the driver so-called direct vision.
The number of annual road fatalities has been reduced by 54% since 2011 across Europe. However, there are still 500 deaths on European roads each and every week. That is over 25,000 fatalities a year. In Ireland there were 400 deaths on roads in 2001 compared to 149 last year.
I remain convinced that we can go much further on improving road safety and I am optimistic about the potential for new lifesaving technologies to help us do that. I welcome the passing of these rules. By making advanced new safety features mandatory in new vehicles, we can seek to have the same kind of impact as when seatbelts were introduced.
As the only Irish MEP on the Transport and Tourism Committee at the European Parliament I have been working on these issues for the last several years.
The European Parliament and the European Council have now agreed 30 mandatory features that will be fitted to vehicles in the future with an aim to improve road safety. The legislation means that new cars, vans, lorries and buses sold in the EU will be fitted as standard with a range of new vehicle safety features from May 2022.
The EU expects the proposals will save lives and prevent at least 140,000 injuries by 2038. The long term goal, under the EU's 'Vision Zero' plan, is to approach zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050.
I think this is a fine example of where the EU can add the most value for citizens by us being able to have an ambitious coordinated policy across 27 countries - to everyone’s benefit.