New safety technologies could play a major role in bringing the numbers killed on European motorways down, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).
The new analysis of developments in motorway safety shows that, despite recent progress, around 1900 were killed on motorways in the EU in 2013.
The report cites figures from several countries showing that up to 60% of those killed in motorway collisions were not wearing a seatbelt. The authors call on the EU to require the mandatory installation of intelligent seat belt reminder systems (SBR) for all passenger seats in new cars. Currently only driver seats are required to be fitted with an SBR.
The EU is currently undertaking a review of the safety requirements that all new vehicles sold in Europe must comply with. A new proposal is expected later this year; the rules were last updated in 2009.
The authors also recommend the EU requires the installation of intelligent speed assistance (ISA) and lane departure warning systems (LDWS) in new vehicles. Assisting ISA is an overridable in-car system that uses GPS data and sign-recognition cameras to help drivers stick to speed limits.
The technology could cut deaths overall by 20%. LDW systems alert the driver if they drift out of their lane, a sign of fatigue or distraction that can be fatal; it is already mandatory for new lorries and buses.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC said: “Technologies that can step in to help the driver avoid catastrophe have the potential to save thousands of lives on our roads. But as the world begins to envisage a future of fully-automated vehicles, an EU-backed push for these intermediate technologies will also help keep the European automotive sector on the cutting edge of a market that risks being dominated by competition from large technology firms based outside Europe.”