The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is urging the UK government to adopt the General and Pedestrian Safety Regulations (GSR) adopted by the EU a year ago today.
The GSR measures have been lauded by PACTS as the ‘vaccine for vehicles’ and their implementation in the UK is overdue.
A package of 15 GSR measures, including enhanced direct vision in HGVs, automated emergency braking systems, lane departure warning, and intelligent speed assistance, was enacted in the EU in July 2022. They would not only protect occupants within cars but other road users too.
Together the measures have the potential to surpass even the casualty savings achieved by seat belts, with an estimated saving of 1,762 deaths and 15,612 serious injuries in the UK. This would produce a value of prevention of around £7bn over a 16-year period.
“The UK played a key role in the development of these vehicle safety measures but has now been left behind by not adopting them,” Jamie Hassall, PACTS Executive Director, told Zag Daily.
“Manufacturers producing vehicles for the European market would look to include these Advance Driver Assistance Systems measures to comply with EU regulations, with little to no indication of downgrading these features or providing them for free to the UK consumer. This would lead to more expensive vehicles entering the market, due to the higher cost of the added hardware.
“Furthermore, repairs would become more costly, as all hardware, whether operational or not, would need to be returned to its original state following an accident or breakdown. These increased costs, both in terms of vehicle price and potential repairs, would consequently raise insurance premiums, ultimately inflating the total cost of vehicle ownership for consumers. All this, unfortunately, comes without the offset of added safety benefits that these features could provide if they were operational.”
The road safety performance of the UK has stagnated since 2010, and the UK’s progress in reducing fatalities on roads is now among the lowest in Europe.
“We stand at a pivotal moment in our nation’s transport safety history where the UK’s leadership position is at stake,” said Hassall. “The GSR is much more than a set of rules – it is the necessity of future vehicle safety and a stepping-stone towards an era of reduced fatalities and improved road safety. We have a golden opportunity to not only align with these cutting-edge standards but to champion and go beyond what has been implemented in the EU, showcasing our commitment to both safety and innovation in our automotive sector. The time to act is now.”