Call for introduction of new car safety standards

The European Commission (EC) is being called upon to introduce new minimum vehicle safety standards after many years of delays, and is expected to announce a new package of transport legislation next week.

In a letter to the commission, a coalition of industry, non-government organisations, consumer groups and cities including the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) are calling on the EC to bring forward a new safety standard for new cars, vans and trucks.

According to the groups, new minimum vehicle safety standards are “absolutely critical” to reducing deaths and serious injuries on European roads. In fact, figures published in March show that overall 25,500 people were killed in road collisions last year in Europe.

These figures are important for car dealers, who should take every step possible to make sure their staff and customers are safe at all times. This can be achieved, in part, by making sure all motor trade insurance policies are up to date, and cover road risk, employers liability insurance and public liability.

In terms of the cars themselves, EU vehicle safety standards have not been updated for eight years despite rapid advances in technology. Safety requirements had been expected to come into effect in the last three years, but have been delayed following a number of issues. The latest delay, for example, was announced at a meeting of the European Commission’s Motor Vehicle Working Group and put the new proposals back to March 2018.

Specifically, the groups have showed concern about consumers getting the wrong impression about the safety standards of new vehicles. Currently, cars that only meet the minimum of legal standards would receive zero stars in tests carried out by Euro NCAP, the consumer testing organisation, which could result in some cars being unfairly disadvantaged.

Last year, the EC published a list of 19 safety technologies that it is considering making mandatory, which the groups suggest should be turned into a formal legal proposal by the commission. These technologies include Automated Emergency Braking, Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and updates to crash testing requirements.