Protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users
The European Union intends to reduce the number of deaths and the severity of injuries to pedestrians and cyclists involved in accidents with motor vehicles. Car manufacturers will therefore need to make changes to the fronts of their vehicles.
Directive 2003/102/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 relating to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users before and in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC.
Around 8 000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed and a further 300 000 injured each year in road accidents.
Accidents occur particularly often in urban areas. Even when cars drive at relatively low speeds, very serious injuries can be caused by a collision with a moving vehicle, particularly in the case of impact with the frontal structure of a motor vehicle. Below 40 km/h, however, it is possible to considerably reduce the severity of injuries by modifying the fronts of motor vehicles.
The Directive sets the safety requirements which motor vehicle manufacturers will have to meet in order to reduce the severity of the injuries suffered by pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists, when they are hit by the frontal surface of a vehicle.
The Directive is based on Article 95 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. The harmonised technical provisions for the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to pedestrian protection are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market.
The Directive applies to the frontal surfaces of vehicles, which mainly means the bonnet and the bumper.
It applies to passenger cars (category M1 vehicles) not exceeding 2.5 tonnes and commercial vehicles (category N1 vehicles) not exceeding 2.5 tonnes and derived from M1 vehicles. There is provision for the Commission to examine the possibility of extending the scope of the directive to vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes.
The Directive proposes limit values to be observed in the construction of the frontal structures of vehicles. These values should not therefore be exceeded in a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian. In order to ensure compliance, the vehicles will have to undergo a number of safety tests. These tests and limit values are based on recommendations made by the European Enhanced Vehicle-Safety Committee.
If the maximum limit values are exceeded, the Member States may no longer grant EC type-approval or register the vehicles concerned.
The technical provisions will enter into force in two stages for which the directive sets out transitional periods. The provisions for the first stage will have to be met for all new types of vehicles from 1 October 2005 and for all new vehicles from 31 December 2012. The provisions for the second stage will be compulsory as of 1 September 2010 for all new types of vehicles and from 1 September 2015 for all new vehicles. This transitional period gives manufacturers time to comply with the limit values and incorporate these changes into the construction of new types of vehicles without having to make immediate changes to vehicles already in production.
Given the speed of technological development in this field, manufacturers may develop alternative measures that are at least as effective as those in the Directive. Depending on the result of the feasibility study carried out by independent experts by 1 July 2004, the Commission may well amend the provisions of the directive.
The Commission plans to conduct an initial assessment before 1 April 2006, then every two years thereafter.
Amendment of the type-approval system
The Directive is one of the specific Directives with which compliance is necessary in order to ensure conformity with the EC type-approval procedure. Directive 70/156/EEC should therefore be amended accordingly.
The European Commission has made it a priority to reduce the number of persons killed and injured on Europe’s roads. Its target is to reduce road deaths by 50% by 2010.
With this objective in mind, the European Commission entered into discussions with European, Japanese and Korean motor vehicle manufacturers. These resulted in the industry making a pledge to introduce measures aimed at improving pedestrian safety. Following the opinion of the European Parliament and of the Council of Ministers, the Commission drew up a legal instrument establishing the main aims and basic technical provisions required to ensure the requisite legal certainty in this area.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 2003/102/EC [adoption: codecision COD/2003/0033]||7.12.2003||31.12.2003||OJ L 321 of 6.12.2003|