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The European Commission's work on motor vehicle safety covers the safety of drivers, passengers, children transported in vehicles and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.

General Safety and Pedestrian Safety Stakeholder meetings - 27.-28.10.2014, Brussels

Stakeholder meetings have been organized on 27 and 28 October 2014 in the field of Vehicle Occupant Safety and Protection of Vulnerable Road Users. More information.


New safety features - 1 November 2014

"Skidding is the main cause of over 40% of fatal accidents. ESC and tyre pressure monitoring help prevent skids and so save lives. These new regulations make vehicles much safer"

Europe saw a major step forward in vehicle safety on 1 November 2014 as new safety features became mandatory for each new car, van, truck and bus sold in the EU, by virtue of application of the General Safety Regulation (EC) No 661/2009.

From now on, the lifesaving technology that is called Electronic Stability Control (ESC) must be fitted as standard equipment on practically all new cars, vans, trucks and busses. ESC can reduce accidents by more than 20 percent in normal conditions and more than 30 percent in wet or icy conditions. Transport safety organisations estimate that the technology has already avoided at least 188,500 crashes involving injury and that more than 6100 lives have been saved by ESC in the European Union.

In addition to ESC, all new cars sold in the EU must also be equipped with new safety features such as driver seatbelt reminders, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, tyre pressure monitoring systems and other safety enhancing measures. A gear shift indicator and the tyre pressure monitoring system will aid drivers achieve better fuel economy.

As part of the implementation and notably the simplification exercise, 49 Directives have now been repealed and were replaced by existing harmonised UNECE regulations or a few new EU regulations where such world-wide harmonised rules did not yet exist.

More information on safety

The General Safety Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 was adopted in July 2009. The Regulation specifies the mandatory fitting of a number of safety features on motor-vehicles including:

  • Seat Belt Reminders
  • Electronic Stability Control Systems
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems
  • ISOFIX anchors for Child Restraint Systems
  • Electric shock protection on electric and hybrid vehicles

The Regulation also sets more stringent tyre noise limit values and introduces a minimum wet grip performance requirement ensuring that this aspect is not overlooked in the pursuit of more energy-efficient and quieter tyres. Cabins of trucks will become more crush resistant and replacement braking components sold in the EU, such as pads, discs and drums, will have to meet stringent performance requirements.

The Pedestrian Protection Regulation (EC) 78/2009 was adopted in January 2009 as an update of the old Directive from 2003 to allow for technical progress. These measures are aimed to protect pedestrians involved in a collision with a vehicle, by requiring vehicle manufacturers to fit Brake Assist Systems to reduce the stopping distance and lower the speed of impact, as well as to make energy absorbing bonnets and front bumpers.

EU-wide legislation mandatory in all Member States prescribes that seatbelts in vehicles have to be used by all occupants, but also that approved Child Restraint Systems have to be used when children are in the vehicle. Such approved Child Restraint Systems must meet the stringent safety requirements laid down by UNECE Regulation No 44 for conventional seatbelt mounted or ISOFIX child seats, or otherwise the new UNECE Regulation No 129 for i-Size compliant child seats.

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