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Protection of pedestrians and vulnerable road users

Vulnerable road users should be better protected, particularly on account of the increasing number of heavy vehicles. This Regulation therefore lays down technical safety conditions for vehicles weighing less than or more than 2500 kg. It is also intended to contribute to the technical harmonisation of vehicles in the internal market.


Regulation (EC) No 78/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, amending Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 2003/102/EC and 2005/66/EC (Text with EEA relevance).


This Regulation lays down requirements for the construction and functioning of motor vehicles and frontal protection systems *. The aim is to reduce the number and severity of injuries to pedestrians and other vulnerable road users hit by the front of a vehicle.

To which types of vehicle does the Regulation apply?

This Regulation applies to:

  • motor vehicles of category M1 defined in Annex II of the Directive on the EC type-approval system for motor vehicles;
  • motor vehicles of category N1 defined in Annex II of the above-mentioned Directive;
  • frontal protection systems of those vehicles, fitted as original equipment to the vehicles or supplied as separate units.

What are the obligations of the manufacturers?

Manufacturers shall ensure that vehicles placed on the market are equipped with a type-approved brake assist system (BAS) *. They may add a frontal protection system which must comply with the criteria laid down in this Regulation. They shall communicate data on the specifications and test conditions of the vehicles to the vehicle approval authorities.

The manufacturer shall submit to the authorities an application for EC type-approval in the form of an information document containing general information, construction characteristics and information relating to the bodywork of the vehicle.

What are the obligations of the authorities of the Member States?

The approval authority shall grant EC type-approval by type of vehicle where the relevant requirements are met by the manufacturer. Three types of letter are granted according to the requirements met by the vehicle, namely letter A (corresponding to the first level of minimum protection), B (corresponding to the second level of protection) or X (corresponding to a level of protection for certain specific vehicles).

National authorities shall not grant EC type-approval if the frontal protection system does not meet the relevant requirements laid down in this Regulation. On the other hand, vehicles equipped with collision avoidance systems may not have to fulfil the test requirements laid down in this Regulation in the future, upon assessment by the European Commission.


This Regulation repeals Directives 2003/102/EC and 2005/66/EC.

Key terms of the Act
  • Frontal protection system: a separate structure or structures, such as a bull bar, or a supplementary bumper which, in addition to the original-equipment bumper, is intended to protect the external surface of the vehicle from damage in the event of a collision with an object. Structures having a mass of less than 0.5 kg, intended to protect only the vehicle’s lights, are excluded from this definition.
  • Brake assist system (BAS): a braking system with an anti-lock device (ABS) which detects in a fraction of a second that the driver is attempting an emergency brake and triggers the brake automatically in order to achieve the shortest possible braking distance.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 78/2009



OJ L 35 of 4.2.2009

Last updated: 04.08.2010
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