New vehicle safety features mandatory from 2022

The European Council has confirmed that from 2022 all new cars sold in the EU will have to be fitted with advanced safety systems, including technology that allows a breathalyser to be fitted to the vehicle.

Motorists who have been convicted of drink driving may have to blow into a breathalyser in order to start the vehicle. Quoted in The Sun, Director of Policy & Research at IAM RoadSmart, Neil Greig, said: “We see them as a useful tool for repeat drink drive offenders to get them back to safe driving after a ban. It is very unlikely that the vast majority of the law abiding public will ever have to blow into a tube to start their car.”

Another safety feature set to be introduced is speed limiters, or ‘Intelligent Speed Assistance’ software which can stop drivers exceeding the limit and will automatically slow down vehicles travelling too fast. Neil Greig said: “Speed limiters will still be voluntary so you don’t have to use them, but they could save your licence.”

Under the new rules, all motor vehicles (including trucks, buses, vans and cars) will be equipped with the following safety features:

  • Intelligent speed assistance
  • Alcohol interlock installation facilitation
  • Driver drowsiness and attention warning systems
  • Advanced driver distraction warning systems
  • Emergency stop signals
  • Reversing detection systems
  • Event data recorders
  • Accurate tyre pressure monitoring.

Supplementary advanced safety measures will be required for cars and vans. These include:

  • Advanced emergency braking systems
  • Emergency lane-keeping systems
  • Enlarged head impact protection zones capable of mitigating injuries in collisions with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

European Council spokesman Timo Harakka commented: ‘These new rules will help us to reduce significantly the number of fatalities and severe injuries. The safety features will become mandatory in all new models launched from mid-2022. Existing models sold after May 2024 will have to be updated to include the new features.”

In the event that Britain leaves the EU, the Government is expected to adopt the same legislation.

In addition to the general requirements and existing systems (such as lane departure warning and advanced emergency braking), trucks and buses will have to be designed and manufactured in such a way that the blind spots around the vehicle are significantly reduced. They will also have to be equipped with advanced systems capable of detecting pedestrians and cyclists located in close proximity to the vehicle.