Protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users
Around 8,000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed and a further 300,000 injured each year in road accidents. A better protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users is achieved by implementing special legislative measures for today's new cars that will reduce fatalities and severe injuries.
These include changes to the construction of the front of vehicles, mainly affecting the bonnet and the bumper. In addition, the European Commission has proposed that passenger cars need to be fitted with Brake Assist Systems. The use of BAS can considerably reduce the stopping distance of a vehicle in an emergency situation, with the effect that a collision with a pedestrian could be avoided altogether or would occur at least at a far lower speed.
Bull-bars and other frontal protection systems may still be fitted to the front of vehicles, but only under strict conditions. Historically, these kinds of devices were used for the protection of vehicles from severe damage resulting from an impact with, for instance, animals on the road. Nowadays bull-bars and the like are mainly fitted to optically enhance the looks of a vehicle. However, because of their rigid construction, these devices can easily cause extremely severe or deadly injuries in case of an accident with a pedestrian or other vulnerable road user. Currently, it is only permitted to mount bull-bars or other frontal protection systems when they in fact meet the same strict safety performance requirements as would a vehicle without such a device.