Blind spots - those areas around a vehicle that the driver can't fully see by looking through windows or in conventional mirrors – are a significant cause of accidents involving lorries. This is especially the case when the truck is turning right (or left in countries that drive on the left), a situation where drivers are often unable to correctly see motorbikes, cycles or pedestrians.
Over the last 18 months, there has been a prevalence of cyclist and pedestrian accidents and deaths caused by right-turning trucks, particularly in Germany.
As a result, UNECE’s World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) established an informal group on Awareness of Vulnerable Road Users proximity, tasked with preparing a draft Regulation on Blind Spot Information Systems (BSIS).
The Working Party on General Safety Provisions (GRSG), a subsidiary body of WP.29, discussed this issue and approved the draft at its session last week in Geneva. It foresees that the BSIS shall inform the driver about nearby bicycles that might be endangered during a potential turn, by means of an optical signal, so that the vehicle can be stopped before crossing the bicycle trajectory. The BSIS shall warn the driver, by means of an optical, acoustic, or haptic signal – or any combination of these – when the risk of a collision increases in order to avoid it.
UN vehicle Regulations are technology-neutral. This means that they impose results to be achieved, which must be validated by tests, but that the choice of technologies (laser, infrared, etc.) is entirely up to the industry.
The draft Regulation will apply to all new trucks heavier than 3.5 t. Once in force, manufacturers will have the possibility to request type approval against this Regulation for buses and coaches transporting more than 9 passengers.
“This new Regulation addressing the issue of trucks’ blind spots when turning right will help save lives in many countries” said Mr. Antonio Erario, Chair of GRSG and WP.29. “In the coming weeks, the GRSG informal group will continue to work to strengthen the protection of vulnerable road users by preparing proposals to improve the driver's field of vision at the rear of the vehicle when moving backwards."
The draft BSIS Regulation will be submitted to WP.29 for consideration and adoption at its March 2019 session. If adopted next March, the new UN Regulation will enter into force by October 2019.
The draft BSIS Regulation is available at: http://www.unece.org/DAM/trans/doc/2018/wp29grsg/GRSG-115-10r1e.pdf
For more information on UNECE’s Vehicle Regulations, please visit: https://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp29.html