VEHICLES/PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT REPORT DISMAYS ROAD SAFETY AGENCIES.
A report the European Parliament's Committee on Transport adopted on June 12 in response to a proposal for a Directive designed to reduce the severity of injury to pedestrians and cyclists involved in accidents with motor vehicles (COM(2003) 67), has come as a bitter disappointment to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). It fails to query a feasibility study the European Commission proposes for a series of tests that are nonetheless regarded as effective. The proposal specifies that vehicles should have to undergo two types of tests: starting on January 1, 2004, for the first ones and on September 1, 2005 for the second series. And therein lies the rub as far as consumer associations and the ETSC are concerned: the first series of tests does not offer an adequate level of protection, whereas the second tougher set (based on work by the European Enhanced Vehicle Safety Committee (EEVC) is covered by a feasibility study to be completed by July 1, 2004 at the latest. The ETSC was hoping the Parliament would drop this condition but it was not to be.
An amendment along these lines (proposed by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy) was thrown out. The Committee sought in vain to stress that the idea of subjecting the EEVC tests to a feasibility study was both astonishing and unacceptable and was akin to a distorting measure offering industry the chance to evade the toughest standards. The ETSC also bemoans the likelihood that the feasibility study may focus on active protection measures presented by the car industry and end up replacing the EEVC tests by these measures. The association says the aim of the draft Directive is not to prevent accidents (active measures) but rather to alleviate the consequences. As important as prevention is, this is a different area and proposing the idea of replacing passive measures by active ones would end up reducing the level of passive protection. In a nutshell, the two fields of activities are complementary and not interchangeable. The ETSC finds it hard to understand the change of tack in the wake of the June 2002 Resolution clearly reflecting the European Parliament's determination to apply the EEVC standards without any string tied to them. The outcome of the vote is said to clearly show the European Parliament has cracked under intense pressure form the motor industry.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Jun 18, 2003|
|Previous Article:||TRANSPORT: PARLIAMENT BACKS COUNCIL'S MARCO POLO POSITION.|
|Next Article:||FISHERIES: COMMISSION LAUNCHES 'NAME AND SHAME' SCOREBOARD.|