The European Commission today announced a major package of road safety measures, which include new targets to reduce by half the number of road deaths and serious injuries by 2030.
The EU safety measures will make life-saving technologies such as Automated Emergency Braking and overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance a standard feature on all new vehicles. Currently these features are only available as an option on some models. The new proposals also mandate direct vision standards for trucks and reinforced provisions for vulnerable road users.
This follows on from European Parliament issued a report last November calling on the Commission to be ambitious and mandate for these new technologies. The Commission´s proposals now need to be approved by 28 EU Member States and the European Parliament.
I have been a long time proponent of these new technologies and their significance in relation to road safety. I have frequently raised the issue through amendments to various reports and via speaking time in the Parliament. I have been particularly active in calling for ambitious differentiated direct vision standards. Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians account for approximately 1,000 truck-related fatalities every year.
Last year in Ireland there were 144 fatal collisions resulting in 159 fatalities on our roads. There are new technologies that can help to avoid accidents and detect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. We should be using these technologies as standard. I welcome the package of new safety measures that the Commission has announced today, and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents to deliver safer roads for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and commercial vehicles.
As a package, today’s announcements could represent the biggest step forward in road safety in Europe since the introduction of the seat belt, however it is essential that the member states and the European Parliament support these proposals and push for ambitious timeframes for implementation of these safety technologies in all vehicles.
According to analysis carried out for the European Commission by TRL, the UK transport research laboratory, the proposed vehicle safety measures could prevent 24,794 deaths across all vehicle categories between 2022 and 2037. See page 13 of https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/ed4aff17-49c5-11e8-be1d-01aa75ed71a1/language-en