Press release
20 December 2000

- Tomorrow's decision on safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists

On the day before the European Commission meets to choose between introducing four soundly based legislative tests or a weaker voluntary agreement to make the fronts of cars safer for pedestrians and cyclists, ETSC urges Commissioners to consider the evidence accumulated over 22 years from their own research and development programme and put safety first.

Responding with concern to news that Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen will suggest tomorrow that the Commission introduces legislation only if a voluntary agreement is not possible before the end of June 2001, ETSC Executive Director Jeanne Breen said:

"We urge the Commission not to go down this route for so many important reasons, the most important of which is that the further delay of six months will cost 1000 more lives.

The voluntary agreement proposed by industry will halve the feasible cost-effective protection which the four tests proposed for legislation could deliver. New cars have performed badly in these four tests, which have been used since 1996 in the EuroNCAP consumer testing programme, demonstrating that industry will not do enough on it's own.

Legislation has been long promised on this issue by the Commission, indeed for eight years, and by Vice President Loyola de Palacio, most recently to the European Parliament at the beginning of the month. Early legislation is urged by the Council of Ministers and continues to be the top road safety priority for the European Parliament.

We find it difficult to comprehend or accept that after all this time one Commissioner can now seriously be urging more discussion on such a serious matter of public safety and one which involves those who are most involved in car to pedestrian accidents and who most need the community's protection - children and the elderly."

Contact details: 02 230 4106 (Int: + 322 230 4106)

ETSC December 2000