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Safety in the automotive sector

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

On 17 May 2018, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. The Commission is proposing a paradigm shift in standard vehicle safety equipment.

Thanks to major innovations and progress in automotive safety, new vehicle systems and advanced technologies are increasingly available. The proposed new accident avoidance systems, including advanced emergency braking and emergency lane keeping systems, can prevent accidents. These new features depend on key-enabling technologies for autonomous driving.

The Commission also proposed other passive and active safety improvements. These reduce accident-related injuries and better protect vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. We’re also improving car crash tests. Moreover, trucks will require detection systems as well as improved and enlarged windscreens and side windows. This eliminates blind-spots and reduces accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles.

The new proposed measures will address societal issues such as speeding but also texting and 'apping' behind the wheel. All in all, the proposed new vehicle safety measures are crucial to improving overall road safety.

On 25 March 2019, the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached a provisional political agreement on the revised General Safety Regulation. As of 2022 new safety technologies will become mandatory in European vehicles to protect passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.


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.