EU endorses plans to control road safety rules
News entry dated 15th Jun 2017

The European Union has ambitious plans to take charge of road safety rules and make them uniform across the whole of Europe’s 28 countries. The rules cover speed limits, new technology and road safety measures, with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians and cyclists). They aim to halve road traffic fatalities by 2030 and halve the cost of accidents by €50 billion a year.

The plans were drawn up with the transport ministers of all 28 member states, including Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister for the UK Government, in Malta earlier this year, at the Valletta Declaration for Road Safety. (Download the plan here)

Last week, the EU endorsed the plans as its road safety strategy for the next 15 years. The move was hailed by road safety organisations as “an important step forward in protecting against needless lives lost on Europe’s roads,” according to a spokesperson for road safety charity Brake.

EU to control aspects of road safety with ambitious plans

Key target to halve road-related deaths

The key target – to halve road-related fatalities by 2030 – is ambitious but achievable. There were 26,100 road-related deaths across the EU in 2015, costing €50 billion a year (increasing to €100 billion when serious accidents are included as well).

Pedestrians and cyclists are to be incorporated into the EU’s mobility plans, with promises to include more “dedicated infrastructure” for these groups, including segregated paths and lanes. Considering recent terrorist events, and how vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians are to the impact of vehicles being used as weapons, this is a logical step, which road safety campaigners will welcome.

The EU also plans to roll out a series of low speed limit zones across the EU, setting a new, standard 30 kph (20 mph) speed limit. Quite when and where the UK will roll out these designated zones is not known. As far as we know, it will be the first time the EU has dictated speed limit restrictions in the UK and is probably the beginning of EU speed limit harmonisation occurring in the future.

Safety technology as standard in all vehicles

One of the most interesting aspects of the declaration is that all 28 member countries have agreed on legislation where new safety technology must be fitted in all new vehicles across the EU. The move is similar to the Euro NCAP standards already in place for seat belts and crash testing.

It is not clear what the timetable is for this new technology, but the underlying objective is clearly focused on saving lives and reducing the chance of high-speed accidents.

The eCall system, for example, allows a car to transmit an “SOS” signal autonomously to the emergency services, cutting response times and saving lives more quickly. Intelligent Speed Assistance is a technology installed in cars that tells the driver when they have reached the speed limit of the road they are on. It also changes dynamically based on when the car moves into a different speed limit, automatically slowing the vehicle down.

Automated Emergency Braking Systems is the most topical system. Some vehicles (such as trucks) already have this technology and it saved lives in the recent terrorist attack in France. The truck used in the Nice terror attack applied a handbrake automatically that could not be overridden after the first major impact.

Interestingly, although the declaration mentioned mobile phone use as a leading cause of road accidents, it did not mention mobile blocking technology. This is perhaps because the major mobile handset and operating system providers are keen to self-regulate rather than allow the EU to impose rules on them.


Do you welcome the EU’s road safety strategy? Are you happy that the EU will determine speed limits, the use of safety technology in cars and road infrastructure decisions in the UK? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit – Pixabay 

terry seymour June 18, 2017

To all those Eu bashers out there regardless of who ever brings in legislation wether it be the Eu or the UK government the real point is that the majority of us will still break or bend the rules. We will all do 35-38 in a 30 zone. We will all exceed the motorway speed limit but not quite enough to hopefully get caught. If I set my cruise at 70 on the motorway I am always being overtaken by just about everybody else. I am always amazed at the over reliance on technology by the fork spring Berk technology or the ultimate boring machine drivers who can't actually drive, motorcyclists who I am supposed to look out for racing up behind at 120 thinking the gap between me and the car in front is a good place to nip into not a braking distance etc. Whatever the legislation will anyone take notice ? Maybe the secret is less legislation but better implementation of existing legislation. Having spent most of my driving career 30 years plus in the UK but spent the last few years driving between the UK an Germany I can honestly say the worst driving I have seen and the worst part of the journey at anytime of year day or night summer winter etc is here in the UK.

Charles Hall June 17, 2017

Why , in this day and age , are cars capable of 120 + mph still being manufactured ? Could it be that the German car makers profits are far more important than preventing accidents ?

Paula Tindale June 17, 2017

What's Stephen McMullion doing? Sounds just like 'whinging, whining & moaning' to me!

andrew dokic June 17, 2017

I personally think it would be a good idea to remove all traffic calming measures,including speed cameras, road humps, chicanes ,and we are leaving the EU ,so won't we be able to make our own rules over here ? I.e. Increase speeds on motorways to 80 'for example when conditions allow which could be judged by drivers , speed doesn't kill or cause accidents,
Poor desitions do

Alan Wheal June 17, 2017

This is a tricky article.. There is absolutely no dictating involved, and it is incorrect of the author to use this word.

Why? Because whilst the suggestion for coordinated action has come from the Commission, "the plans were drawn up with the transport ministers of all 28 member states, including Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister for the UK Government". Then the Commission writes up the plans in the form of a law, and asks the European Parliament for approval or amendment. If passed, it then becomes law. If that is being dictated to, then our own parliament is also a dictatorship. (Which of course it isn't).

Worth noting too, given that the European parliament is constituted of MEPs elected by proportional representation (as all of our British city mayoral assemblies are) the European Parliament is far more representative of the people than our own parliament.


Nice to hear the Wrexiteers still moaning like a load of lost Zombies ,never mind if this if for the EU and we do not make cars except for the Japanese who do them better!
Still Brexit will come and go and then back to moaning about the Weather , the traffic ,the trains ,this ,that and whatever , whinging ,whining ,moaning ,moaning , nothing on the telly ................thats what is the best thing about Brexit ,it will go wrong which is excellent for those that voted for it ,more to moan about !!!!

Keith Allen Simpson June 17, 2017

Most drivers are responsible & use their experience to determine the correct speed for the road conditions. Blanket 20mph zones is treating drivers like children who are unable to judge what is a safe speed for the prevailing road conditions.

In any zone there will be both narrow wining roads & wide straight roads, also depending the time of day there will be more or less traffic. Even now there are times of day when on some roads at certain times, a 30mph is inappropriate; 20mph will just means this is the case for many more roads during more of the day. It will lead to many more motorists being needlessly criminalised.

The European Union interfers in the minutiae of all our lives & with every interference comes unwelcome side effects, such as discarding dead fish that are in excess of European Union imposed quotas. It is better to only legislate when really necessary & not legislate simply to justify your existance! Let us prey for a clean Brexit, that leaves us in charge of what legislation actually applies in this country.

Ian MacPherson June 17, 2017

It is really not very difficult to find instances where current UK road safety legislation doesn't make sense at ground level: Locations where driving @ 60 mph on a single carriageway is vastly more dangerous than 80 mph + on a motorway. The reason is that "the system" (the law) has had to come up with a centralized one-size-fits-all solution. Compromises and misfits are inevitable.
Extend this with a top-down regime imposed at EU level and the consequences are all too predictable as the experts struggle in the name of PC harmonization to agree on rules that take account of conditions so diverse as between the UK and parts of Eastern Europe.
No system is perfect. The overriding point is that there is no reason why the UK cannot pragmatically, independently and voluntarily adopt whatever aspects and improvements that common sense would dictate are desirable in whatever the EU comes up with, and give a wide berth to those that have nothing to contribute.
As part of the top-down vs bottom-up debate this is a classic example in support of the case for leaving the EU straitjacket. One can only hope that nothing gets in the way..

Kyle Gordon June 17, 2017

For those asking 'We're leaving the EU, why tell us', it's because if we are to sell anything in the EU, we have to obey the EU regulations.

Yes, part of the article is about road environment regulations, but the other part is about technology and safety features. If we are to continue manufacturing cars for sale in the EU, then we have to comply with their regulations, just as we do for anything else we make and then sell elsewhere in the world.

It's supposed to be 40% of our trade export market. We'd do well to not screw it up by understanding these things.

George Winstanley June 17, 2017

Anything from the EU is more than likely going to cost the ordinary motorist in this country money. What worries me now is that we will still be talking about leaving when some idiocy will be foisted upon us as we will still be members fort he next few years.

Our our politicians incapable of making their own decisions without have to have costly changes foisted on them by by a shambles organisation like the EU?

Peter Orchard June 17, 2017

If it's as successful as most other directives from the EU dictatorship over the years it will be a resounding failure. They would be better off forcing the governments, especially the UK government, to repair all potholes to a decent standard, and generally improve the road surfaces. Driving standards are down to the person behind the wheel of the vehicle , if the so called driver is a poor or reckless driver, no amount of legislation will change that.. Typical EU meddling, thank god we are getting out of the corrupt dictatorship.

Philip Lloyd June 17, 2017

Its not about the EU. These technologies will be used by our government because drivers in this country are nor being responsible when dealing with other road users. Think of the number of cars you see speeding on side roads or drive through red lights or park on the pavement blocking pedestrians from walking on the pavement. Our behaviours dictate a reaction by safety experts. Or put another way if nobody broke the speed limit there would be no speed cameras.

Peter Langton June 17, 2017

As both driver and pedestrian I would say that one of the best ways of slowing traffic on a demand basis is to replace all the Pelican crossings with the original style of zebra crossing, or where this is not practical with timed crossings -I.e. A count down of 30 seconds for pedestrians when they press the button. And get rid of all those stupid speed humps which don't slow down those who wish to speed. I also use the bus, and am sometimes alarmed at the way they are driven.

Michael Kaufman June 17, 2017

This is more of the EU's Big Brother heavy hand and is nonsense!
Over the next several years or so, autonomous vehicles such as Tesla's ever improving Autopilot will, all by themselves, reduce road accidents, injuries and deaths FAR more than any legislation ever could and certainly WAY before 2030.

peter scaysbrook June 16, 2017

This really does show that we made the right decision to leave. With the exception of Germany where at least if the Autobahn is quiet you can travel at any speed you wish and get on with your journey and maybe Italy where the have a more realistic attitude to speed the rest of Europe will simply meekly do as they are told. So Europe will become one big crawling traffic jam causing even more pollution. Car engines create much more pollution at low speed than when running as their designed optimum speeds and as mentioned the BIG BROTHER camera system will rake in thousands of £/€ for the authorities.
When the UK speed limit was set at 70MPH the majority of cars could do little more than this anyway ,and stopping took forever, nowadays's the average family saloon will comfortably cruise at 90-100mph and stop in half the distance an old car would. Technology is supposed to improve things not return us to the good old days of a man walking in front carrying a flag. The only place 20mph is sensible and advisable is outside of schools,absolutely no where else.
I voted to stay in but as time goes on I have become a very definite leave advocate. The EU thinks in can meddle in everyone's life. WE have some of the safest roads in Europe maybe they should put more effort into raising their own driving standards. SPEED is not a killer Bad and irresponsible driving is.

Simon Conway-Smith June 16, 2017

The 'one size fits all' mentality doesn't actually think about the issues at hand, so doesn't help safety. The only guarantor of safety is the responsible driver. The EU wish to remove that responsibility.
About speed limits; can any limit guarantee safety? No! Speed is an OUTPUT of the driving equation, with observation of all the current prevailing conditions being the input. That's the responsible approach.
To set a blanket speed is a dumb strategy, as it takes no account of different roads and environments, and all it does is its make the driver watch his speedo instead of watching outside the car. That's irresponsible.
As for automatically showing you down, i.e. taking responsibility away from the driver, who will carry the can should an accident happen in that circumstance? I can already see the plea: "the car caused it".
As for tracking you, that's a police state, not a free country, but that's the EU through & through, step by step removing every element of democracy & privacy. So glad we're leaving!

    Keith Allen Simpson June 17, 2017

    Totally agree.. drivers should be trusted to use their expreience to judge what is an appropriate speed for the road conditions & of course that will vary all the time. If there is a maximum speed limit it should always be a sensible maximum that for most of the day you wouldn't want to exceed anyway & thus eyes could be back on the road where they belong & not on the speedometer].

    We need to get away from this interfering European Union but that means a clean Brexit & not the dirty [soft] Brexit promoted by the remoaners that would leave us still subject to EU directives. Those suggesting we should stay in the single market aren't just talking about trade because it is membership of the single market that makes us subject to Europan Union directives & gives the European Court of Justice jurisdiction over us.

Brian Smith June 16, 2017

More rubbish from the EU.
20 mph limits are farcical!
Councils are rubbing their hands once again at the prospect.You know why!
It's about time motorists became political and defended themselves!
Brian Smith.

    Paul Lawrence June 17, 2017

    Plenty of 20 mph speed limits in the UK already, but very few enforced. Most people drive between 30-40 mph in these zones. Money making racket I say

Clive Keevill June 16, 2017

Yes Dave, I live not too far from Bristol & those 20mph limits are in the most part stupid. They take no account of what time of day it is, in some places, you'd like to be able to achieve 20mph but can't because of the traffic. There are other large quiet roads where a 40mph limit would be fine, but no, the 20 limit prevails.The limits also vary from one to the other in short spaces of time, so it makes it easier to get caught "speeding". It means people are taking their eyes off of the road trying to make sure they don't speed & the inevitable accident happens, which is what they're trying to stop. God save us from so called "experts" It's just more EU meddling, the quicker we leave, the better.

    George Winstanley June 17, 2017

    I agree Clive, I work shifts and if I go past the local school at 3.00pm then with the flood of children of all ages, the school run Mums and the School crossing patrols etc 20mph is an aspiration... However if I have to pass the school at 5mp, stop for the Lollipop patrol and the other crossings, its called responsible make sure everyone is safe then I will.

    If I pass that school at 3.00am in the morning then I am usualy the only car on the road and 20 mph is a joke.

    As for the speed humps there is not consideration to removing them as the stop / start motoring apparently is killing people with the extra pollution generated.

    Lets be honest, not one of our policitcal elite has the first idea.

Simon Blanchard June 16, 2017

The New technology they talk about is not just about safety, it's about introducing Road Pricing or Pay per Mile. A new tax on top of Vehicle and fuel tax.
The carrot is eCall that is supposed to call the emergency services in an accident, but it will also log and record every journey you made, note everytime you exceeded the speed limit and issue fines automatically.
Depending on your journey time could also impose Congestion Charges, all done from the EU satellite system called Galileo (GNSS)
If you think you can disable the tracker in your car, it will be part of the MOT checks to make sure the tracker log history corresponds with the odometer reading.
Insurance companies will also make it nearly impossibly expensive to drive without a tracker.
The EU and insurance companies will track and trace your every move for your safety. Yeah right. Aren't we glad we voted to leave?

    Terry Hudson June 20, 2017

    Read your comments on PetrolPrices, seems you really know what is going on, the others just seem to be sleep walking into a total totalitarian regime. If they think this life of total mindless obedience is the way forward, why do they just not emigrate to North Korea and allow us to live out own lives and make out own decisions?

Norman Young June 16, 2017

By the time this comes about we will have left the EU, however it's time we got our sign in order. for instance if an action is not permitted then a sign has a black line across the image of the prohibited action ie. NO RIGHT TURN. this sign had a symbol of the action with a line across, Whereas the sign that forbids cycles/farm carts is a small round sign with a red ring around the edge and a image of a cycle or farm cart, these sign do not have the black line.
Just for interest, last year, I witnessed a argument between a French cycling group and the local police over the same point, arguing the point that any action forbidden must have black line across. There are many other that do not follow the logic of not permitted then black line across else it's a warning that in this case cycling is permitted.