|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.26, 28.6.01, p25|
THE incoming Belgian presidency is urging the European Commission to tear up its draft voluntary deal with car makers on pedestrian safety and launch binding laws instead. European car lobby ACEA and industry chief Erkki Liikanen have crafted a code aimed at setting new design standards in a bid to reduce the number of pedestrians killed in road traffic accidents.
The key to the code is an agreed testing system which would measure the effects of a car's impact in a collision with a pedestrian.
Liikanen's fellow Commissioners are expected to vote on the code - which would avoid the need for formal rules that would have taken years to implement - at their meeting in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
But Belgian Transport Minister Isabelle Durant insists that a voluntary scheme does not "carry sufficient guarantees". She says binding rules in the form of a directive would ensure more stringent and detailed test standards than those envisaged by industry.
In a speech at the Brussels-based European Transport Safety Council, she rebuffed claims that a directive would be too costly and complicated for manufacturers to meet. She pointed out that some firms already produce cars which match the criteria. Under the terms of the industry deal with the Commission, car companies would promise to meet a two-stage test, measuring the effects of impacts to the head and lower leg.
But road safety experts at the ETSC claim this would be "weaker" than the test envisaged by them and Durant. For instance, their test - developed by EU-funded researchers - would also examine the effect of car impacts on children and the upper section of adults' legs.
However, under their voluntary code car firms would only promise to phase in this tougher criteria over eight years and not immediately.
ETSC director Jeanne Breen said accepting the voluntary deal instead of imposing binding rules would lead to thousands of pointless road deaths and injuries a year. "It is absolutely ludicrous," she said. "It is terribly wrong in terms of the precedent that we set for the future. "
The incoming Belgian Presidency is urging the European Commission to tear up its draft voluntary deal with car makers on pedestrian safety and launch binding laws instead.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry, Mobility and Transport|