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EU to target road death toll with revised vehicle safety rules
May 19, 2017 / 5:54 PM / 3 months ago

EU to target road death toll with revised vehicle safety rules

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks at the opening of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2017.Michael Dalder/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union car and truck safety rules will be revised by the end of the year after pressure from campaigners to cut the number of road deaths by forcing manufacturers to include technologies which make vehicles safer.

A draft policy document outlining initiatives to be adopted this year, seen by Reuters on Friday, includes a review of vehicle safety regulation, which has been unchanged since 2009.

In 2016 25,500 people were killed in road accidents, a 2 percent fall from the previous year and the EU wants to halve the number of fatalities between 2010 and 2020, but said in March this remained an "extreme challenge".

Improving the direct visibility of trucks to reduce blind spots through camera and monitoring systems could help save hundreds of lives a year by making it easier to spot pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, campaigners say.

Only the EU can make safety technologies mandatory for new vehicles, prompting eight European ministers to write to the Commission in February asking it to speed up the review process and present a proposal "well before the end of 2017".

Safety technologies can also include intelligent speed assistance and autonomous emergency braking systems.

"The EU has exclusive powers to set vehicle safety rules and nowhere is an update more needed than in the truck market which, unlike cars, has no safety labels to drive innovation. Meanwhile, blind spots in today’s outdated truck designs are killing hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians each year," Stef Cornelis of campaign group Transport & Environment said.

The draft also says that the European Commission will link the level of road charges motorists pay to the CO2 emissions of vehicles and for the first time set an EU-wide framework for road tolls for cars.

It says the EU executive will also mandate that time-based charging systems be gradually phased out in favour of distance-based systems, "beginning with heavy goods vehicles by 2023".

Editing by Alexander Smith

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