Geneva - Dozens of countries have come out in favour of fresh international regulation requiring all new cars and lighter motor vehicles to be equipped with automatic emergency braking systems, the UN said Tuesday.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe said around 40 countries had so far agreed to a draft UN regulation for Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) in cars.
"This will significantly improve road safety, especially in cities, where in the European Union alone, over 9,500 fatalities were recorded in 2016, accounting for 38 percent of all road deaths," UNECE said in a statement.
Using sensors, such systems monitor the proximity of a vehicle or pedestrian in front of the AEBS-equipped car.
In situations where the sensors indicate a collision is imminent, and the driver does not react to the system's warning alert, emergency braking is automatically applied to avoid a crash.
Such systems have been in use for a number of years in trucks and buses.
The new UN regulation would impose strict and internationally harmonised requirements for the use of AEBS at low speeds (up to 60 kilometres per hour), even in unpredictable traffic situations in urban areas.
The regulation would apply to all new cars, but also to vans and minibuses carrying fewer than nine passengers.
"With this regulation in force, most of existing systems will have to be updated to meet stricter requirements," UNECE said.
"AEBS are already available for some cars in some countries, but there were no standard technical requirements guaranteeing the effective performance of such systems so far," it added.
The draft regulation has been approved by a working group under UNECE's World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations, and will be submitted to the World Forum for formal adoption next June, it said.
Once adopted, the regulation should enter into force in early 2020.
The EU and Japan, who have led the development of the regulation, have said that once the rule is in place, AEBS systems would become mandatory for all new cars and light commercial vehicles.
This will impact new cars sold in the some 50 countries that have approved the draft regulation, including South Korea, Australia and Russia, although not China and the United States,
Based on 2017 sales figures, once the new regulation takes effect, it would mean that more than 15 million new cars in the EU and over four million in Japan would be equipped with AEBS technology each year.