Europe is introducing new vehicle safety laws designed to save thousands of lives. However, the UK government has not confirmed whether they will apply here in the UK.
The European Parliament agreed on the new safety standards back in 2019. At the time the UK was still part of the EU and the rules applied here. But, since Brexit, we no longer need to follow European rules.
Ministers and safety groups have asked Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps to follow Europe’s lead and introduce the rules in the UK.
The new legislation will come into force in Europe this July and is designed to protect all road users.
New cars, vans, lorries, and buses will need certain safety features by law. Including mandatory speed limiters and automated emergency braking.
Other measures include electronic data recorders (black box recorders) and a built-in breathalyser. This will not let drivers start the car if they fail the test.
In addition, airbags and seat belt protection, known as head-on collision protection, are also on the list but these need to be suitable for all passengers including women and older people.
A study by the University of Virginia Centre for Applied Biomechanics highlighted issues.
Firstly, it showed that female drivers involved in car crashes were 47% more likely to have a serious injury or death than their male counterparts.
Secondly it found that eight out of 10 women in accidents, suffered a serious injury to their legs than male drivers.
The UK government is now under pressure because European associations claim the new rules could prevent thousands of deaths every year.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said: “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.
“We would like to thank MEPs from across the political spectrum that have supported a number of important road safety measures over the last five years.
“Thanks to their commitment, many lifesaving measures have been agreed. Including automatic emergency calling, eCall, cross-border enforcement of traffic offences.
“Improved road infrastructure safety standards, and finally the world’s most advanced vehicle safety standards. These are major achievements that Europe can be proud of.”
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