Vehicles Better Equipped to Prevent Accidents
With an average 49 road traffic fatalities per one million inhabitants compared with 174 fatalities per one million inhabitants worldwide, roads in the EU are some of the safest in the world. Around 25,100 deaths caused by road traffic accidents were reported in the EU in 2018. According to estimates, for every death on EU roads last year there were around five times as many people seriously injured (approximately 135,000)—so say the European Commission’s preliminary figures.
Altogether, the number of road traffic fatalities in the EU has more than halved over the last two decades. Having said that, the latest figures show that the fall in the mortality rate is stagnating and that further efforts are required to improve road safety and save lives. Consequently, beginning in May 2022, various driver assist systems will be mandatory in new vehicles. The EU decided on this in April 2019.
The driver assist systems that will have to be fitted in all new vehicles include an intelligent speed assistant, a fixture for installing an alcohol-sensitive immobilizer, a driver drowsiness and attention warning system, an advanced driver distraction warning system, an emergency stop signal, a reversing assist and an incident data recorder (“black box”). Estimates suggest that the intelligent speed assist could reduce fatalities on EU roads by 20 percent.
Installation of an emergency braking assist system (already compulsory for trucks and buses) and an emergency lane-keeping assist will also be mandatory for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Most of these technologies and systems are due to become mandatory beginning in 2022 for new models and beginning in May 2024 for existing models.
Manufacturers will also need to design trucks and buses (or equip them with advanced features) to give drivers better direct vision of vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, by reducing to the greatest possible extent the blind spots in front and to the side of the driver. Direct vision technology is due to be introduced beginning in November 2025 for new models and beginning in November 2028 for existing models.