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Compulsory fitting of safety belts
The fitting of safety belts becomes compulsory for all categories of vehicles. This obligation, which initially related only to cars, is thus extended to all commercial vehicles, particularly coaches and minibuses.
Directive 2005/39/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 amending Council Directive 74/408/EEC relating to motor vehicles with regard to the seats, their anchorages and head restraints.
Directive 2005/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 amending Council Directive 77/541/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to safety belts and restraint systems of motor vehicles.
Directive 2005/41/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 amending Council Directive 76/115/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to anchorages for motor-vehicle safety belts.
The three Directives make it compulsory to fit safety belts in all vehicles, thereby improving their passive safety.
Fitting and use of safety belts
As many vehicles as possible must be fitted with safety belts in order to ensure the optimum effectiveness of the measures relating to the compulsory use of belts fitted in vehicles, an obligation imposed by Directive 91/671/EEC, as amended by Directive 2003/20/EC.
Failure to use the safety belt is the second-biggest cause of deaths, after non-observance of speed limits and before drunken driving. The obligations to fit and use safety belts will bring about a substantial improvement in road safety within the European Union and a reduction in the number of victims of road accidents.
The obligation to fit safety belts, initially relating to cars, is henceforth extended to all categories of vehicles and therefore to all commercial vehicles, particularly coaches and minibuses. The compulsory fitting of safety belts in coaches in particular is intended to prevent the risks of passengers being thrown out when coaches overturn after leaving the road, which is the most frequent accident for this type of vehicles.
The three Directives establish a uniform legal framework for manufacturers by defining the technical requirements which motor vehicles must meet with regard to:
- seats, seat anchorages and head restraints (Directive 2005/39/EC amending Directive 74/408/EEC);
- safety belts and restraint systems (Directive 2005/40/EC amending Directive 77/541/EEC);
- safety-belt anchorages (Directive 2005/41/EC amending Directive 76/115/EEC).
The provisions of the three Directives apply, from 20 October 2006, to the new types of vehicles and will be extended, from 20 October 2007, to vehicles of the type already in production.
Safety belts for disabled persons
Technical standards relating to safety belts for disabled persons will be drawn up in the near future in order to ensure a level of safety equivalent to that laid down by the present Directives.
The obligations relating to the fitting and use of safety belts help to achieve the objective, set by the European Commission in its European Action Programme for Road Safety of reducing the number of victims of road accidents by half by 2010.
|Act||Entry into force - Date of expiry||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 2005/39/EC||20.10.2005||20.04.2006||OJ L 255 of 30.09.2005|
|Directive 2005/40/EC||20.10.2005||20.04.2006||OJ L 255 of 30.09.2005|
|Directive 2005/41/EC||20.10.2005||20.04.2006||OJ L 255 of 30.09.2005|