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Starting from Sunday, all newly manufactured vehicles sold in Ireland must be equipped with a range of advanced safety systems, following the implementation of an EU regulation aimed at significantly reducing road deaths and serious injuries.

The second General Safety Regulation (GSR2) applies to cars, vans, buses, and trucks. Its primary objective is to decrease collisions by deploying advanced safety systems that protect vehicle occupants, pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users.

Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), praised the move, stating:

“ADAS uses sensors and other electronic systems to assist drivers in various driving tasks and help prevent collisions. It has the potential to significantly improve road safety in Ireland.”

The regulation mandates the introduction of various technologies, including:

  • Drowsiness Detection
  • Blind Spot Information Systems
  • Advanced Emergency Braking
  • Alcohol Interlock Installation Facilitation
  • Intelligent Speed Assistance

One of the key features, Intelligent Speed Assistance, alerts drivers when they are speeding by issuing audible warnings or vibrating alerts. This technology utilises a front-facing camera to read speed limit signs and can combine this data with GPS mapping to keep drivers within speed limits along their routes.

Advanced Emergency Braking monitors the road ahead and alerts the driver of potential collisions. If the driver fails to brake in an emergency, the system automatically applies the brakes. An alcohol interlock interface allows the installation of aftermarket breathalysers, requiring drivers to pass a breath alcohol content test before starting the vehicle.

Research from the University of Limerick (UL), published in November 2022, suggests that installing ADAS on cars could significantly reduce crashes. Using 2019 road safety data from Great Britain, researchers estimated that full ADAS deployment could reduce collision frequency by 23.8%, representing an annual decrease of 18,925 incidents. The research, conducted by Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software at UL, and Motion-S, Luxembourg, identified Advanced Emergency Braking as the most impactful technology, reducing intersection collisions by 28%, rear-end collisions by 27.7%, and pedestrian collisions by 28.4%. Similar results are anticipated for Ireland.

To raise awareness of these changes, the RSA, in association with the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), has launched a campaign across press, digital display, and social media platforms.