Press release
15 February 2002

Pedestrian protection: Safety organisations across Europe call on Members of the European Parliament to put public safety first

Next week, two European Parliamentary Committees will vote on whether to insist on binding legislation to secure state of the art cost-effective pedestrian tests saving up to 2000 lives a year or give in to the car industry’s weak voluntary agreement on pedestrian protection.

In a letter to MEPs, the European Transport Safety Council has urged Parliamentarians to throw out the agreement in view of its poor safety content and stick to its longstanding call for a Directive in this area of exclusive EU legislative responsibility for the following reasons:

  1. ETSC believes the industry has no intention of implementing voluntarily the state of the art tests devised over a 22 year EU-funded programme by the European Enhanced Vehicle safety Committee (EEVC) given:
  2. a) The lack of guarantees that the agreement will introduce these tests.

    b) Cars, in general, continue to perform badly in these tests which have been used since 1996, by the European New Car Assessment Programme (consumer information tests run by a consortium of Member States and consumer and motoring organisations).

    c) Industry is currently lobbying against the EEVC tests and is suggesting that even 22 years of research and development have been insufficient to provide a firm basis for action!

  3. The feasibility of providing effective pedestrian protection was demonstrated fifteen years ago and a car on the road now (the Honda Civic) meets over 70% of the EEVC requirements.

  4. The voluntary agreement tests (Phase One) will save 75% fewer lives than the EEVC tests and fail to deliver the high level of protection in the harmonisation process required by the Treaty. The tests will deliver three times less protection by the year 2012 than a car on the road does now!

  5. In the first year of all cars passing EEVC, more lives could be saved than the total savings from any earlier implementation of the voluntary agreement tests. The EEVC tests could save up to 2000 lives annually and at an additional cost at design stage of no more than 30 euro per car.

Jeanne Breen, ETSC Executive Director said: “Only the European Parliament can now ensure that after the long delays and years of blocked progress on this issue, immediate steps are taken to ensure that by the year 2008, via a Parliament and Council Directive, the car industry starts to provide essential and cost-effective protection for vulnerable road users when they are hit by the ordinary fronts of cars.“

Contact details: Jeanne Breen, Executive Director + 32 (0) 2 230 4106/4004