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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Safety in the automotive sector

The European Commission’s work on motor vehicle safety deals with the safety of vehicle occupants (including children in child restraint systems) and vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists). The work covers light-duty vehicles (passenger cars and vans) and heavy-duty vehicles (buses, coaches and trucks).

Motor vehicle safety

The revised General Safety Regulation was adopted on 27 November 2019.

Regulation (EU) 2019/2144 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users.

The new mandatory safety features include (see the full list)

  • For cars, vans, trucks and buses: warning of driver drowsiness and distraction (e.g. smartphone use while driving), intelligent speed assistance, reversing safety with camera or sensors, and data recorder in case of an accident (‘black box')
  • For cars and vans: lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking, and crash-test improved safety belts
  • For trucks and buses: specific requirements to improve the direct vision of bus and truck drivers and to remove blind spots, and systems at the front and side of the vehicle to detect and warn of vulnerable road users, especially when making turns

The new safety features will become mandatory from 2022, except for direct vision for trucks and buses and enlarged head impact zone on cars and vans, which will follow later due to the necessary structural design changes.


eCall is an automatic emergency call system for motor vehicles. It dramatically shortens the time it takes for emergency services to arrive. Carmakers will have to install the technology in all new car and van models from 31 March 2018 onwards. The system could help save hundreds of lives every year and so improve road safety in Europe. 2 legislative acts cover the eCall system:

  • Regulation 2015/758 on eCall type-approval eCall amending Directive 2007/46/EC (making the vehicle fit for eCall)
  • Decision 585/2014/EU on the deployment of the interoperable EU-wide eCall service (making the public infrastructure fit for eCall)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/78 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/79 contain administrative provisions and detailed technical requirements.

The final eCall report (2014) structures and assesses the available information that could support the development of vehicle approval requirements and test procedures in line with the eCall system.

Protection of children

Under EU law, all vehicle passengers must use safety-belts and all children must use approved child restraint systems. Approved child restraint systems must meet the stringent safety requirements contained in UNECE Regulation No. 44 for conventional safety-belt mounted or ISOFIX child seats. i-Size compliant child seats must meet UNECE Regulation No. 129’s requirements.