Fleet managers will gain extra help in controlling their risk exposure under new proposals from the European Commission to make safety systems such as electronic stability control a compulsory feature on all new cars.
The EC proposes that the systems be phased in from 2012 and fitted as a compulsory measure from 2014.
These technical standards have been under discussion for months and follow last year’s EC proposal that all new cars be fitted with advanced emergency braking systems.
The move has been welcomed by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.
Its director general, John Lewis, said: “These new safety rules will help fleet managers control the risk associated with company cars.
“Supplying the latest vehicles with these features will show that employers are providing the safest cars possible.
"With Government figures putting the average age of employee-owned cars used for businesses at 6.7 years, companies relying on grey fleets will be on less secure ground.”
Brussels has also proposed the mandatory fitting of low rolling resistance tyres and tyre pressure monitoring systems in 2012, which it says will boost fuel economy (and reduce emissions), as well as safety.
According to the EC, the tyres could reduce CO2 emissions by 7g/km.
It also points out that under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption by 4% and reduce their lifespan by 45%.
Mr Lewis added: “It is good to see the EC is setting a timeframe for the mandatory introduction of these important measures.
“Most manufacturers will already be working ahead of this, partly because of the demand they are seeing from fleet operators who want to reduce the fuel consumption of their vehicles and improve safety for their drivers.”