Pedestrian Protection: Parliament Does The Car Industry A Favour
The European Parliament today adopted a proposal for a directive on the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle. This proposal, regulating the design of the fronts of vehicles to reduce their harmful impact potential on pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, had been requested by the EP last year with the aim of establishing a legislative framework on passive pedestrian protection measures (in-crash measures).
Bart Staes MEP (Greens - Flanders) Environment Committee draftsman on this subject said:
"We regret that Parliament has not adopted our recommendations for applying a strict and compulsory long-term calendar for the car industry on promoting safer car fronts. The fact that passive measures (car design) might be replaced by active measures (pre-crash measures such as sensors, road design, traffic management, etc.) is a favour made to the car industry who could now get away with doing less on passive safety than needed. We had proposed that passive measures should not be replaced by active measures for more than 25%, to keep the focus of this directive on the requirements for passive protection of pedestrians, but PPE, PSE and ELDR did unfortunately not see that need."
Carlos Bautista MEP (Partido Andalucista), member of EP transport committee added:
"We were expecting a more progressive position from the EP in this matter to resist the lobbying of the car industry and to oblige it to do better on pedestrian protection. We strongly support active road safety measures, but we believe that they should be promoted in the framework of the recently proposed Commission Action Plan on Road Safety as supplementary measures to more pedestrian-friendly car design by the industry. The Commission's target of halving deaths on European roads will be difficult to achieve with half-hearted action. We had also proposed to extend the scope of this directive on safer car fronts to vehicles up to 3,5 tonnes to include minibuses and heavy jeeps, but unfortunately, the Parliament preferred to keep this option vague."
In the end the Greens/EFA Group abstained on the proposal.