Campaigner welcomes call by MEPs to improve safety

Eilidh Cairns
Eilidh Cairns
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A campaigner who has fought for road-safety improvements following the death of her sister has welcomed a European Parliament vote, which supported a report calling for ground-breaking technology to become compulsory in new vehicles. Kate Cairns, from Newton-by-the-Sea, launched the See Me Save Me campaign in 2010 to tackle the issue of blindspots in HGVs and has taken her appeal to the European Parliament.

It comes after her 30-year-old sister Eilidh, from Ellingham, was crushed by a tipper lorry as she cycled to work in London, in 2009.

Recently, the campaign received a welcome boost, after MEPs called for standards of direct vision – attuned to different truck types – to be proposed by the European Commission when it overhauls vehicle safety rules next year.

Direct vision standards set out the area surrounding a truck cab the driver must be able to see without using mirrors or cameras, thus improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

MEPs also demanded safer front-end design standards for heavy-goods vehicles – to enable better vision of pedestrians and cyclists – as well as barriers to avoid collisions and lessen the impact of collisions.

They have also called for it to be compulsory to install front, side and rear cameras and sensors, as well as making automatic emergency-braking systems – which detect other road users – mandatory in new vehicles.

Intelligent speed assistance systems, which help drivers stay within the speed limit, should also become compulsory for new cars and trucks, MEPs said.

The report was endorsed by the full parliament with near-unanimous support.

Kate said: “I am reassured that MEPs have taken heed and I am delighted that this report addresses both retrofitting cameras and sensors to existing lorries and improving cab design on new vehicles so drivers can see out of the windscreen. This is exactly what we wanted and sends a clear message to the Commission that MEPs are convinced that the law is not fit for purpose.

“I have also worked with industry to develop a new voluntary national standard, known as CLOCS, to manage the risk of HGV drivers, vehicles and operations. I shall continue to drive change until direct vision lorries are standard across the UK.”