Automotive black box recorders could become mandatory in Europe

European Parliament passes vote for mandatory in-car driver-assistance tech

The European Transport Safety Council said the proposed legislation could    save 25,000 lives within 15 years of coming into force. Photograph: Getty Images

The European Transport Safety Council said the proposed legislation could save 25,000 lives within 15 years of coming into force. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Critical in-car driver assistance technology, including black-box crash recorders, could become mandatory in Europe within three years.

The European Parliament’s committee on internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) voted last month to make automated emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, intelligent speed assistance and emergency lane keeping compulsory.

However it’s in a race against time, with European Parliamentary elections, which could unseat the move’s supporters and block its path to legislation, due in spring this year.

Pushed for by the European Transport Safety Council, the proposals also include a direct-vision standard for trucks and buses so drivers have a better view around the vehicle.

Collisions

But the headline issue will be aviation-derived black boxes, or Event Data Recorders, which record everything from a vehicle’s speed, its steering, braking and throttle inputs to whether its skid- or traction-control systems were switched on.

There has been pushback from civil libertarians but IMCO insisted Europeans would be safer if investigators had a better understanding of the moments before and during collisions.

Intelligent speed assistance, which uses both navigation and camera inputs to detect speed limits, then limits the car to that speed, is also a controversial measure, even though drivers will be able to override the car’s limiters.

“This legislation represents a major step forward for road safety in Europe, and could save 25,000 lives within 15 years of coming into force,” European Transport Safety Council executive director Antonio Avenoso said.

“But it will only apply to new vehicles. So it’s incredibly important that a final deal is reached as soon as possible, so cars with these new safety features fitted as standard start driving off production lines sooner rather than later.

Responsible

“We want to thank MEPs, and in particular Rósa Thun – the MEP responsible for the file – for working long and hard to come up with a text that a majority could support.

“Final negotiations between the parliament, member states and the European Commission should now begin as soon as possible.

“Minimum vehicle safety standards in the EU were last updated in 2009, so there is no time to lose. We urge policymakers to do their utmost to achieve a final agreement before the European Parliamentary elections in May.”