Cars to become safer from this month

Posted on November 14th, 2012 by Rob Marshall

Cars to become safer from this monthFresh safety requirements for new cars come into force from this month, to reduce ‘the likelihood and consequences of accidents’.

Although the European Commission has declared the measures as a major step forward in vehicle safety, the truth is that many (if not all) of the measures have been fitted to certain larger cars for at least five years. In reality, they do not seem major at all but, to copy a well-known phrase ‘every little helps’.

Smaller and cheaper new cars are most likely to benefit most, although the implementation of this legislation is likely to result in price increases in the showroom.

While the measures will become compulsory for all new models that are being Type-Approved from this month, we will have to wait until 2014, until they become mandatory for every new car sold on the EU market. The new requirements are:

  • The driver’s seat will have to be fitted with an optical and audible safety belt reminder that, if undone, will persist, even as the car is moving.
  • Electric cars will ensure that users cannot get an electric shock from parts either in the vehicle or engine compartment (which seems an obvious proposal to me).
  • Cars will have to be fitted with at least two ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, fully integrated in the rear seats. The claimed benefits are better stability of the seat and enhanced child protection, plus it should be simpler to install the seat correctly.
  • New labels will warn against the placement of rearward facing child restraint systems on a seat that is protected by an active frontal airbag.
  • The rear passenger seats in front of the luggage compartment must be strong enough to protect against the forces of moving luggage in the boot, during a frontal crash.
  • Tyres will have to be fitted with an on-board tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Apart from the safety benefits, correct tyre pressures will also save fuel and CO2 emissions.
  • Finally, new types of passenger cars will also have to be fitted with gear shift indicators aiding drivers to achieve better fuel economy by adopting a more environmentally friendly driving style.