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EU proposes 'black boxes' for buses and taxis

[ 2010-07-21 16:39]     字号 [] [] []  
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Buses, taxis and lorries could be fitted with aircraft style “black boxes” under European Commission proposals to boost road safety.

Buses, taxis and lorries could be fitted with aircraft style “black boxes” under European Commission proposals to boost road safety.

The Commission, which has set a target of reducing road deaths by half over the next decade, wants to examine putting the devices into commercial vehicles.

Proposals for what are known as “event data recorders” were included in the Commission’s latest Road Safety Action Plan.

As disclosed in the Daily Telegraph last year, the Commission has already spent £2.4 million on examining how the technology would work in a scheme known as “Project Veronica”.

The black boxes could be used to help police piece together what happened following an accident. They could, for example, detect whether a car has braked suddenly or swerved.

In a statement, the Commission said its officials would examine "the added value of developing and installing event data recorders in particular on professional vehicles, to improve technical investigations and analysis of accidents".

The Commission’s readiness to spend more money on examining the technology has triggered fears that they could be made compulsory in all cars.

But this was denied by the Commission.

Opponents of the use of black boxes have warned their introduction would lead to the further growth of the surveillance state

Supporters of the scheme say it would help drivers involved in an accident prove they were not to blame for a collision.

“Drivers should not be concerned about in-vehicle data recorders. If used properly, they can help to prove a driver’s innocence in disputed cases”, said Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.

Other key plans of the road safety strategy include the compulsory installation of electronic stability control on cars as well as automatic braking systems for buses and lorries.

"One hundred people die every day on Europe's roads," said EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas. "We have made good progress since 2001 and we have succeeded in saving nearly 80,000 lives.

"But the number of fatalities and injuries on our roads is still unacceptable.”

The EU proposals were welcomed by Kevin Clinton head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. “Moving forward together on road safety is good for the EU. States have much they can learn from each other.

“Given its position as a road safety leader, the UK can share a lot from its experience, but we must remember that there are important lessons for us too.”

“Although a great deal of progress has been made since 2001, it would be wrong to see road safety as a ‘job well done’. More than 35,000 people died in road accidents across Europe last year, and stark figures like these must spur us on to greater achievement in the future.



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