Former transport ministers have written to the current transport secretary Grant Shapps, calling on him to adopt a new package of vehicle safety measures – or face putting road users ‘at risk’.

The package of 15 integrated measures – including better direct vision in HGVs, automated emergency braking that detects pedestrians and cyclists, and intelligent speed adaptation – will become mandatory on new vehicles manufactured in the EU and Northern Ireland from July.

Step up

It has been described by TRL as the biggest advance in vehicle safety since the seat belt.

The UK actively supported these measures right up to the moment that it left the EU – two years ago this week.

The former ministers, including serving MP Sir Peter Bottomley, say the UK needs to adopt its own regulations, or put the safety of UK road users at risk.

They note that incorporating this package of measures will benefit the UK automotive sector, which exports most new cars to the EU – adding that the technology comes at minimal cost to the taxpayer or consumer.

They add that the measures will also help avoid serious and fatal crashes and injuries and improve safety for vulnerable road users.

Matching standards

David Davies, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), said: “There has been little progress in reducing road deaths and injuries over the past decade (apart from during the 2020 lockdown).

“Here is a package of measures that would kick start a new chapter. It comes at almost no cost to Government or the motorist.

“We support the call from former transport ministers for the Government to at least match the standards that will apply in Northern Ireland. It could demonstrate the UK’s new independence by going further and faster.”