MEPs Vote to Rein-in Bull-Bars
MEPs have backed EU plans for tighter controls on the use of ‘bull bars’ on cars, in a bid to minimise injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. The European Parliament voted at a first reading on new EU laws setting out tougher safety standards and strict tests for new cars built with frontal protection systems to improve pedestrian safety.
Brussels welcomed the outcome of the vote as “major step” towards improving road safety. “Better controlling of bull bars will help to reduce injuries and fatalities of pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable road users,” said EU industry chief Gunter Verheugen.
Under the terms of the directive, all bull bars intended for new cars – up to 3.5 tonnes and light-duty trucks – will have to satisfy a number of impact tests. Existing cars road vehicles will not be affected by the legislation.
Brussels estimates that 47,000 people are killed on European roads each year, and 1.7 million people injured. The European Commission’s 2001 white paper set a goal for reducing fatalities by 50 per cent, and in 2002 a voluntary agreement was presented by European, Korean and Japanese car manufacturers pledging to ban the use of rigid “bull-bars.”
National governments are expected to give the go-ahead to the new laws at the next transport council in June, avoiding the need for a second reading. The directive will then come into force nine months after it hits the statue books.