From 2022 all cars must have mandatory breathalysers and other new safety features built into them.
The decision was made by the European Council and is expected to be adopted in the UK post-Brexit.
As of mid-2022, all new cars put on the EU market will have to be equipped with advanced safety systems.
Following an agreement with the European Parliament last March, the Council last week adopted the new regulations on the general safety of motor vehicles to help protect vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users.
The European Council hope these new rules will help to reduce significantly the number of fatalities and severe injuries on EU roads.
Timo Harakka, Finnish Minister for Employment, said: “Ten years after the adoption of its predecessor, the new general safety regulation gives a new boost to EU action on road safety. For the first time, it addresses the specific concerns of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.”
Under the new rules, all motor vehicles (including trucks, buses, vans and sport utility vehicles) will have to be equipped with the following safety features:
intelligent speed assistance,
alcohol interlock installation facilitation,
driver drowsiness and attention warning systems,
advanced driver distraction warning systems,
emergency stop signals,
reversing detection systems,
event data recorders,
accurate tyre pressure monitoring.
Supplementary advanced safety measures will be required for cars and vans. These include:
advanced emergency braking systems,
emergency lane-keeping systems,
enlarged head impact protection zones capable of mitigating injuries in collisions with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
In addition to the general requirements and existing systems (such as lane departure warning and advanced emergency braking), trucks and buses will have to be designed and manufactured in such a way that the blind spots around the vehicle are significantly reduced. They will also have to be equipped with advanced systems capable of detecting pedestrians and cyclists located in close proximity to the vehicle.
Earlier this year, the Department for Transport published statistics on drink drive crashes in Great Britain for 2017. This showed that there had been an estimated increase in the number of people killed in crashes where one driver was over the drink drive limit, reaching a final central estimate of 250, up from 230 in 2016, an increase of 9% and the highest level since 2009.
The number of total crashes involving a drink driver is however estimated to have fallen by 6% to 5,700, down from 6,070 in 2016.
The new figures come after road safety charity, Brake, revealed that more than 5,000 drivers have been caught drink driving on two or more occasions in the past four years.
The figures from the DVLA, obtained via a freedom of information, showed that in the past four years, there have been 5,181 repeat drink-drive offenders, including 4,879 who were caught twice, 275 drivers who were caught three times and one driver who was caught six times in the same period.
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said at the time: “The fact that the number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive related crashes has increased to the highest level since 2009 is incredibly concerning. Couple today’s figures with the shocking fact that thousands of drivers have been caught drink driving on two or more occasions over the past four years, it begs the question, how much longer must this continue before the Government acts?
“The current drink-driving limit gives a false impression that it is safe to drink and drive – this is a dangerous message and one that couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown even very small amounts of alcohol dramatically affect safe driving. The Government must act now to tackle the blight of drink driving by implementing a zero-tolerance limit, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe.”
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