From 2022, new vehicles will be bound by minimum safety requirements in the European Union(EU) after the European Parliament voted to set a new standard of safety features within brand-new models.

Following a provisional deal agreed by the EU’s institutions in March, the full European Parliament voted for a wave of next-generation safety features to be fitted as standard on new vehicles built from 2022 onwards, including Automated Emergency Braking, designed to monitor and detect nearby cyclists and pedestrians, along with an overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance function.

Brand-new lorries will need to have improved levels of “direct vision”, giving HGV drivers improved vision of the road and the pathways around them to better protect pedestrians and cyclists. Other brand-new vehicles will need to befitted with Electronic Data Recorders, which will record data seconds before,during and after a road collision, to help organisations to better understand the root cause of accidents and develop new ways of preventing them in the future.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director, European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), called the new legislation a “massive step forward” that had the potential to “prevent 25,000 deaths” on the continent’s roads in the next 15 years.

“Importantly,the new requirements will also improve the safety of all road users, not just vehicle occupants,” said Avenoso.

“We would like to thank MEPs from across the political spectrum that have supported a number of important road safety measures over the last five years.

“Thanks to their commitment, many life-saving measures have been agreed, including automatic emergency calling, eCall, cross-border enforcement of traffic offences, improved road infrastructure safety standards, and finally the world’s most advanced vehicle safety standards.”

The new legislation is also designed to meet the challenge of drink driving head on, making it easier for vehicles to have alcohol interlock devices retrofitted.These devices have proven particularly useful in the battle to thwart repeat drink-drivers in the EU’s Member States.

Given the UK’s uncertain future relationship with the European Union (EU) at present, it is unclear whether the UK’s vehicle manufacturers would need to abide by these new safety requirements. However, it would seem highly necessary in order for such vehicles to be allowed to be driven and owned throughout mainland Europe.