North Devon, A361 accident (photo used for illustrative purposes only) - credits @ Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under CC BY-SA 2.0 Creative Commons Licence

UK road safety campaigners urge government to adopt EU vehicle safety rules

A coalition of road safety advocates, including Brake CEO Ross Moorlock, AXA UK Retail CEO Alain Zweibrucker, and road safety campaigner Meera Naran MBE, has formally requested that the UK Government adopt the latest updates to the Vehicle General Safety Regulation into the GB Type Approval Scheme. The regulation, which became mandatory for all new vehicles in the European Union in July 2022, includes advanced safety features such as advanced emergency braking (AEB), intelligent speed assistance, and driver drowsiness detection.

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In a letter addressed to Secretary of State for Transport Louise Haigh MP, the group emphasised the urgent need to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries in the UK. Currently, more than 30,000 people are killed or seriously injured on UK roads annually, with the societal and economic costs of road harm estimated at £43.5 billion per year.

The advocates argue that adopting the proposed updates could prevent over 1,700 deaths and 15,000 serious injuries over the next 16 years, potentially saving up to £7 billion in health costs. The safety features mandated by the EU regulation are designed to prevent crashes and protect all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

Research conducted by the road safety charity Brake and AXA UK in 2023 revealed strong public support for these safety measures, with 63% of drivers willing to pay more for features that would protect them and their passengers. Over two-thirds of drivers surveyed supported making intelligent speed assistance, advanced emergency braking, and driver drowsiness detection mandatory for all new vehicles in the UK.

The letter also notes that the recent Automated Vehicles Act demonstrated the potential for cross-party collaboration on road safety legislation. The signatories call for similar support to adopt the Vehicle General Safety Regulation updates, aiming to align the UK with international safety standards and benefit manufacturers and vehicle users.

The signatories of the letter include Ross Moorlock, CEO of Brake; Alain Zweibrucker, Retail CEO of AXA UK; Meera Naran MBE, road safety campaigner and founder of Dev’s Law; Edmund King OBE, President of the AA; and Tony Kildare, CEO of I am RoadSmart. 

Photo credits @ Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under CC BY-SA 2.0 Creative Commons Licence.