Road safety: Commission reports on how blind spot mirrors help reduce road fatalities
The European Commission published yesterday a report on implementing the legislation known as "blind spot mirrors directive". Directive 2007/38 required the retrofitting of all existing lorries with mirrors aimed at reducing or eliminating blind spots. Blind spots are areas outside the driver's field of vision which are particularly important for the safety of motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. The report shows that the number of fatalities resulting from accidents involving heavy good vehicles and motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians has been effectively reduced following the retrofitting of blind spot mirrors.
"I'm proud to note that road fatalities have significantly decreased since the entry into force of the EU legislation on blind spot mirrors", said Vice-President Sim Kallas Commissioner for transport. "We continue to explore all those areas where EU legislation can efficiently reduce road fatalities. Vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, are one of its priorities for action under the Policy Orientations for Road Safety 2010-2020".
Blind spot mirrors became mandatory for new heavy goods vehicles registered as from January 2007. In addition the European Commission's proposal for a directive to retrofit all existing vehicles was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2007.
Blind spot mirrors provide an enhanced field of vision for the driver of heavy goods vehicles by reducing blind spot areas which are particularly dangerous for vulnerable road users, i.e. motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians at crossings or roundabouts. The Commission's report on the implementation of the directive shows that the number of fatalities amongst vulnerable road users has been reduced more than expected.
During 2009, the lives of 270 vulnerable road users*could be saved compared to the number of victims of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles that was estimated for the same year if no retrofitting had taken place. This reduction is attributed at least partly to the retrofitting of blind spot mirrors.
The Commission also stresses that training and awareness of road users concerning the dangers of blind spots is essential to avoid the related accidents. Also, the technical design of vehicles should be improved in order to enhance driver's direct field of vision allowing a cabin design that is optimised to further reduce blind spots.
* Data for EU15+CZ, PL, SI and RO.
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)