News

20-03-2007 DRL: Doubts emerging at the EU Commission

Issued 20th March 2007

Following the EC?s consultation on Daytime Running Lights (DRL) closed on November 17th and FEMA interventions at the last FIA meeting on DRL, the Head of the European Commission?s Road Safety Unit, Dr Stefan Tostmann, announced at a meeting with FEMA representatives on 6th March that the Commission would call for a 6 month moratorium in the United Nations legislative process. 

Motorcyclists? concerns regarding the EC?s intention to introduce compulsory DRL for all vehicles throughout Europe seems to have eventually found echo at the European Commission. Dr. Tostmann, underlying that the Commission should give further consideration to the widespread worries raised by motorcyclists and engage in discussions with all stakeholders, announced at a meeting in Brussels that the Commission proposed a 6 months moratorium regarding the DRL issue at the United Nations.

This halt in the legislative process can unquestionably be considered as a victory for FEMA and its members. Doubts are finally emerging at the Commission regarding the validity of the research on DRL and the possible negative impact of DRL on vulnerable road users. It would be unacceptable to adopt a measure that would benefit one category of road user while putting the life of another group in jeopardy.

The moratorium has formally been accepted this week in Geneva during the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP29)

Ends

1. FEMA detailed position on Daytime Running Lights can be found following this link: Here pdf

FEMA statement of position:

Because of the very different situations and conditions in the member states, with no existing viable alternative for motorcycle conspicuity, the recognized environmental cost, FEMA currently opposes the harmonization of DRL at EU level. DRL should be left to the appreciation of National governments, in accordance with motorcyclists and other Vulnerable Road Users? associations.

Based on all the above facts and figures, the Federation of European Motorcyclists? Associations (FEMA) is very concerned by the European Commission?s intention to introduce compulsory DRL for all vehicles in all countries. FEMA still believes that the measure will lead to a loss of conspicuity for motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.

There are sufficient doubts concerning both the quality of some of the research and the absence of clear evidence demonstrating the benefits of compulsory DRL for all vehicles from countries where it has been introduced, to warrant its promotion as an issue for compulsory harmonisation.

While perhaps improving car drivers? safety, the measure will do so at the expense of Vulnerable Road Users (VRU), which include motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, at a time when the EU is promoting the use of alternative means of transport, for mobility and environmental reasons. Conspicuity is a key issue for motorcyclists? safety. FEMA believes that the measure of harmonizing DRL at European level is being rushed through as, up to now, no alternative has proved to be efficient in terms of re-establishing motorcycle conspicuity. Imposing DRL at European level now would put VRU at much greater risk.

FEMA is also concerned that it will lead to a shift in the responsibility for taking appropriate action to minimise a hazardous situation, away from the car driver onto the motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian - this being in large part a consequence of the car driver believing that ?I have my lights on so, therefore, I must have been seen by that motorcyclist/cyclist/pedestrian?.

This view is all the more important when the environmental cost of DRL for all vehicles is recognised. At a time when we are struggling with global warming, we believe that an energy expending measure such a DRL for all vehicles should only be introduced if it can be clearly demonstrated that its appreciable costs are appreciably outweighed by its benefits. We are of the opinion that this is not the case.

Because of the very different situations and conditions in the member states, with no existing viable alternative for motorcycle conspicuity, the recognized environmental cost, FEMA currently opposes the harmonization of DRL at EU level. DRL should be left to the appreciation of National governments, in accordance with motorcyclists and other Vulnerable Road Users? associations.

Virginie Peters - Campaigns Officer

E-mail: virginie.fema@chello.be 

Phone: +32 2 736 9047
Mobile: +32 2 484 976170 

FEMA - Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations
Rue des Champs 62, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 736 9047 / Fax: +32 (0)2 736 9401

www.fema.ridersrights.org

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