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Safer vehicles through international harmonisation Published on: 14/11/2012, Last update: 11/12/2012

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"This is a further step to simplify our legislation and promote international harmonisation that facilitates access by European manufacturers to non- EU markets. We are improving road safety and simplifying legislation, all on the basis of internationally agreed standards. This is how the Cars 2020 Action Plan works in practice which we only presented a week ago”.

The European Commission has today agreed with international partners on new internationally harmonised rules on Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning Systems (LDWS) for commercial vehicles.

EU legislation already sets out dates for the obligatory introduction of these safety enhancing technologies in the EU. To promote safety internationally and help the European automotive industry export trade, it is important that these systems are based on globally harmonised standards. At the United Nations' World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, the Commission actively contributed to these and other measures, including the adoption of rules for a new generation of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) called "i-Size" and rules covering the safety of batteries fitted in electric vehicles.

The inclusion of these measures in the United Nations' International Agreement on vehicle construction will ensure that the same requirements are adopted not only by Europe, but also by other countries such as Japan, Russia and South Korea, hence reducing market entry barriers and facilitating trade between major automotive markets.

Background

Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS)

AEBS involves employing sensors to alert the driver when a vehicle is coming too close to the vehicle in front. If the driver does not react in time, the system automatically triggers emergency braking to prevent or reduce the impact of a collision. Such systems are particularly effective in situations where, for example, a heavy vehicle is approaching the rear of a traffic jam and its driver does not react in time or at all.

Lane Departure Warning Systems (LDWS)

LDWS assist drivers in keeping to their lanes by emitting a warning when the vehicle is in danger of leaving the lane unintentionally, a situation mainly due to lack of driver attention. These systems are particularly useful in avoiding accidents caused by heavy duty vehicles leaving their lane, a major cause of casualties on motorways.

Child Restraint Systems (CRS)

The new measures aim to make sure that the new generation of child seats are compatible with and have seamless integration to modern cars. The new child restraint system, called "i-Size" will no longer confuse parents with difficult weight classes, but offer a simple choice between different sizes, similar to how one would select a piece of children's clothing. Children will no longer be put at risk by the early use of forward facing seats, as child seats will be rear facing up to 15 months of age. Finally, the new child seats will offer better protection during side collisions.

Safety requirements for batteries fitted in electric vehicles

Batteries installed in electric vehicles may be exposed to severe conditions such as strong vibrations, sudden changes of temperature, or even crashes, with the consequent risk of battery deterioration and possible impact on passenger safety. In order to address these concerns, a new set of tests has been developed to simulate certain situations which may appear during actual driving, such as crashes, external fires or a short-circuit (IP/10/260).

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

Global technical harmonisation is a key factor in strengthening the competitiveness of the European automotive industry world-wide. The more we regulate at UN/ECE level, the better for European industry and the less EU legislation is needed.

The EU is a Contracting Party to the UN's 1958 international Agreement on vehicle construction. This Agreement has currently 50 Contracting Parties (including the EU, Japan, Russia and Korea) and 127 annexed Regulations. The Regulations cover the approval of vehicles' safety and environmental aspects and are managed by the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, a permanent working party of the UNECE. The Commission and Member States take part in the technical preparatory work of the Forum and the Commission exercises the right to vote in the Forum on behalf of the EU.

Documents & links

"This is a further step to simplify our legislation and promote international harmonisation that facilitates access by European manufacturers to non- EU markets. We are improving road safety and simplifying legislation, all on the basis of internationally agreed standards. This is how the Cars 2020 Action Plan works in practice which we only presented a week ago”.