Fleet News

Manufacturers and European Union agree bull bar ban

FLEETS will no longer be able to buy new European cars fitted with rigid bull bars from the start of next year, following a voluntary agreement between car makers and the European Commission.

Bull bars are deemed by manufacturers and campaign groups to be unnecessarily dangerous to pedestrians, and will neither be fitted to cars nor marketed as aftermarket products from January 1, 2002, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has pledged. Many fleets had already banned the bars in the past few years because of safety concerns, including DHL, HSS Hire Services, TNT, Marks & Spencer and the RAC.

The move was greeted with delight by the RAC Foundation, which has been lobbying for five years to outlaw bull bars. Kevin Delaney, the foundation's traffic and road safety manager, said: 'It is universally recognised by road safety experts that bull bars are a dangerous and unacceptable menace to pedestrians, especially children. This Europe-wide agreement will ensure that the automotive industry makes cars that will be more pedestrian friendly.'

The European Safety Council has estimated that 2,000 deaths and 18,000 injuries could be prevented annually thanks to the ban. The ACEA plan for limiting pedestrian impacts also includes fitting vehicles with daytime running lights from 2002, and anti lock brakes as standard by 2003, as part of a concerted effort to improve Euro NCAP ratings for pedestrian protection.

Paolo Cantarella, president of the ACEA added: 'By indicating their readiness to take such a commitment, European manufacturers want to show that they are not only considering the satisfaction of drivers, but also addressing the broader requests of road users.'

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