Brussels, 16 Jun 2003
The European Parliament's transport committee is calling on the European Commission to carry out feasibility assessments of tests designed to measure the effectiveness of vehicle modifications. The modifications are aimed at reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from road accidents involving pedestrians.
The Commission has proposed a number of measures aimed at reducing the severity of injuries to pedestrians involved in accidents with motor vehicles at speeds of up to 40 km/hour. Around 8,000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed and a further 300,000 injured every year in the EU in road accidents. The proposals aim to reduce the number of deaths and injuries through changes to the construction of the front of vehicles, mainly the bonnet and bumper areas. It is estimated that 2,000 fatalities could be prevented by implementing the Commission proposals.
Modified vehicles will be tested in two phases, in 2005 and 2010. The tests will assess whether or not the modifications would mean a reduction in disabling injuries to the legs, caused by contact with the front of the vehicle, and fatal injuries to the head, caused by striking the bonnet of the vehicle.
The Parliament committee has requested that the Commission carry out an independent feasibility assessment of these tests by July 2004.
While welcoming the Commission proposals, Dutch MEP Herman Vermeer said on 12 June that the directive should be one element of a broader package of measures by industry and the Member States, based on best practice, to deal with pre-crash, in-crash and post-crash pedestrian safety.