EC issues new car safety regulations

  • Regulations by European Commission for all new cars
  • Effective from November 1, improves safety and emissions
  • Includes seatbelt reminders and gear shift indicator systems

As of 1 November 2012, a host of new safety requirements became mandatory for all new types of vehicles built for the European market.

Put into place by the European Commission, the requirements include a broad range of areas such as seatbelt reminders, new safety regulations for electric vehicles, easier to use child seat ISOFIX points, better protection for rear-seat passengers against luggage in case of an accident, mandatory tyre pressure monitoring systems and gear shift indicators to help drivers save fuel and reduce CO2.

The new changes come under the umbrella of the ‘General Safety Regulation’ introduced in 2009, a single overall regulation which governs legislation across the European automotive industry.

Below is a summary of the new requirements:

  • All vehicles must carry an optical and audible safety belt reminder for the driver’s seat.
  • Electric cars now face a more stringent range of safety tests to ensure there is no risk of an electric shock to users.
  • Cars’ rear seats must incorporate a minimum of two ISOFIX child seat anchor points. New labels warning against the use of rearward-facing child seats in the vicinity of an active frontal airbag have been introduced.
  • Rear passenger seats must be sufficiently strong to protect against any luggage in the boot displaced in the event of a crash.
  • All passenger cars must be fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system, with the aim of both reducing risk of tyre blowouts and reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
  • New passenger car models must be fitted with suggested gear shift indicator lights to encourage a frugal driving style, with the aim of reducing global CO2 emissions.

The new requirements are mandatory for all new vehicles which undergo type approval from now on and all new vehicles sold on the EU market in 2014.

The regulations come on top of further proposals from the European Commission that all new cars should be equipped with Electronic Stability Control systems from 2012 and heavy goods vehicles fitted with Advanced Emergency Braking Systems and Lane Departure Warning systems from 2013.

Commenting on the new regulations, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani said: “We are working hard to improve the safety of European drivers, passengers and road users in general. These new measures will substantially increase the level of safety by reducing the likelihood and consequences of accidents.”