Brexit is allowing the government to slow down road safety improvements rather than speed them up.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is calling on the Government to align with EU rules on pedestrian safety.

General and Pedestrian Safety Regulations (GSR) were adopted by the EU a year ago. These feature a package of 15 measures, including enhanced direct vision in HGVs, automated emergency braking systems, and intelligent speed assistance.

However, the UK has still failed to make any moves on adopting similar measures.

Lost in transition

A new PACTS briefing – Still-unvaccinated-GSR-one-year-on-2023 – supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Transport Safety, wants immediate action.

They believe these measures will improve the welfare of UK road users and also bolster the UK automotive sector.

Vehicles made in the UK must incorporate these systems if they are to be exported to the EU, its biggest market.  These standards are now mandatory across the EU.

The GSR technologies are crucial for the advancement of connected and autonomous vehicles. They come at a minimal cost to the taxpayer or consumer, the briefing argues.

Deaf and …

Government consulted on new vehicle regulations in November 2021 – The Future of Transport Regulatory Review. However, nothing has been done since and this is leaving the UK  behind in both transport safety and vehicle sales.

Jamie Hassall, PACTS executive director, says the UK is becoming an outlier and losing out.

“The UK played a key role in the development of these vehicle safety measures, but has now been left behind by not adopting them or indeed increasing the requirements.

“This means it will take longer for these features to appear in our fleets and help reduce the number of deaths on our roads.

“It appears that the UK market is being asked to pay more to have these life saving features activated while these are free in Europe.

“The adoption of the GSR measures could kickstart a new era of road safety in the UK, at virtually no cost to the government or motorists.

“The benefits of these measures play a key role in reducing the harm caused to pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

“The true cost of their delayed introduction and leaving them as an optional paid-for measure has a knock-on effect: otherwise preventable collisions will persist and more lives be lost.”

The future’s on the road

While the Government published The Road Safety Statement 2019 A Lifetime of Road Safety that covers ‘Safe Vehicles’, it is failing to deliver this. What’s more, these measures are also key to the safe introduction of autonomous vehicles.

Hassall adds that the Government must “at least match the standards that now apply in the European Union.

“The UK should utilise its newfound independence to implement these life-saving measures more swiftly and comprehensively.”