Brussels, 23rd May 2008
Improving the safety and environmental
performance of vehicles
The European Commission proposes that all new cars
from 2012 will have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems, to drastically
improve vehicle safety. Furthermore lorries and other heavy vehicles should be
fitted with Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning
(LDW) Systems as of 2013. Last year the Commission already proposed the
obligatory fitting of passenger cars with Brake Assist Systems (BAS) to protect
pedestrians. These measures will reduce fatal casualties in traffic by an
estimated 5000 a year. At the same time the Commission proposes the obligatory
introduction in 2012 of low rolling resistance tyres, which considerably save on
fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and might also reduce noise, while
maintaining high level safety. Low rolling resistance tyres will reduce up to 7
gram of CO2 per km, therefore contributing strongly to the CO2 reduction
strategy for cars, adopted in February 2007. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
will further be reduced by the proposed introduction of Tyre Pressure Monitoring
Systems. The Commission proposal will also sweep away more than 150 existing
Directives and replace them with one single Regulation, which is directly
applicable in the EU and refers to harmonised UN standards.
European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for
Enterprise and Industry, stated: "We are simplifying legislation. We are
improving road safety. We are promoting fuel efficiency. We are presenting a
modern integrated policy approach beneficiary for citizens, for the environment
and the industry.''
1. The Commission proposes that the following safety requirements are
- Mandatory Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems for new car
series and commercial vehicles to be phased in from 2012, with all new cars
being equipped by 2014. ESC acts on the braking or power systems of a vehicle
to assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle in a critical
situation (caused, for example, by poor road conditions or excessive speed
during cornering). As well as saving casualties, the widespread use of ESC in
vehicles could significantly reduce the traffic congestion caused by accidents
involving large vehicles.
- Advance Emergency Braking (AEBS) on large vehicles employing sensors
to alert the driver when a vehicle is too close to the vehicle in front and, in
certain situations, apply emergency braking to prevent or reduce the
consequences of a collision (from 2013).
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Systems on large vehicles to assist
drivers by warning them when their vehicle is in danger of leaving the lane
unintentionally, mainly due to lack of driver attention (from 2013).
- In addition, the Commission has proposed in October 2007, that passenger
cars need to be fitted with Brake Assist Systems (BAS) as from 2009. If
the complete European car fleet is fitted with BAS, as many as 1100 pedestrian
lives may be saved every year. The use of BAS can considerably reduce the
stopping distance of a vehicle in an emergency situation with the effect that a
collision with a pedestrian could be avoided altogether or would occur at least
at a far lower speed (see IP
- In line with the recommendation of the CARS 21 report, the repeal of over
50 existing Directives and more than 100 amending Directives to be replaced
where possible by references to United Nations Regulations.
2. New requirements for tyres
- Low Rolling Resistance Tyres (LRRT), to be obligatory from 2012 ,
lead to lower fuel consumption by reducing the resistance to motion that occurs
when the tyre rolls, caused mainly by the deformation of the wheel or tyre or
the deformation of the road. Rolling resistance depends very much on the
material of the wheel or tyre and can be reduced by, for example, the use of
silica in the tread compound. In order to avoid any negative impact on safety,
explicit safety requirements are introduced alongside new standards on
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), obligatory from 2012, warn
the driver when the tyre is significantly below its optimum pressure.
Maintaining proper tyre inflation is essential for both fuel efficiency and
better tyre performance. Deflated tyres can cause up to 4% increase in fuel
consumption while reducing tyre lifespan by 45%. Tyres can lose 3-6% of pressure
per month, and this may not be noticed by the driver. Deflated tyres are also an
important factor causing road accidents.
According to research by
TNO in the Netherlands, the fuel saving potential of LRRT and
TPMS in passenger cars is 3% and 2.5% respectively. For new cars with
expected engine test cycle performance of 130 g CO2/km this would mean
additional reductions of more than 7 g CO2/km (3.9 LRRT and 3.25 TPMS). The CO2
reduction potential of LRRT+TPMS on a current car (with a test cycle of, for
instance, 160g) would be greater than 7kg/tonne.
Advanced Safety Systems
Preliminary estimates suggest that the new proposals for fitting advanced
systems to heavy vehicles could ultimately save around 2500 lives per year
(around 500 for ESC and 1000 each for AEBS and LDW) and many more lives outside
the EU since the legislation will encourage manufacturers to fit ESC as standard
for a wider range of markets. Fitting ESC on cars is likely to save around
2000/2500 lives per year. The proposal also allows for the optional fitting of
AEBS and LDW on cars, provided certain standards are met.