Vehicle safety – revising the EU’s roadworthiness package

In 2021, 19,800 people were killed in road crashes across the EU. Car occupants, meaning drivers and passengers, accounted for more than 40% of all road deaths.

As part of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the EU has committed itself to a 50% reduction target for road deaths by 2030 and to achieving zero road fatalities by 2050. Furthermore, this Strategy highlights the importance of ensuring lifetime compliance of vehicles with emission and safety standards, to reduce emission from the transport sector and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, as set out in the European Green Deal.

Roadworthiness inspections of vehicles are also fundamental to road safety and to ensure the environmental performance of vehicles during their lifetime. As a result of stricter safety and emissions legislation, vehicles in the EU have become technically ever more complex.

EU rules governing roadworthiness inspections of vehicles are laid down in the Roadworthiness Package. This package is composed of three Directives that set out rules on periodic roadworthiness tests, technical roadside inspections of commercial vehicles, and vehicle registration, respectively. The last update of these directives was in 2014 and since then major advancements have happened in the automotive industry.

To keep pace with these technological advancements, major adaptations to how vehicles are inspected are necessary. Furthermore, better exchange of relevant vehicle roadworthiness data at EU level is also needed to enforce road safety measures more effectively.

To this end, the European Commission is currently undertaking an evaluation of the Roadworthiness Package to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the three Directives. The Commission will examine the effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance of the Directives and their specific measures, taking account of the current, complex vehicle technologies.

The conclusions of this evaluation will feed into a revision of the Directives of the Roadworthiness Package, planned for mid-2023. Improving road safety, reducing air pollutant emissions, and facilitating the free movement of goods and people are the main objectives of the potential revision of these Directives.

As part of this initiative, the Commission has launched a public consultation to gather experiences and opinions related to these Directives from citizens, industry (including equipment and vehicle manufacturers), consumer organisations, associations of the road sector, NGOs, and competent authorities. In addition, the Commission is seeking to gather views from different stakeholders and citizens on the revision of these EU Directives.

Those interested in partaking in this online consultation are invited to provide their input by September 28, 2022.