Expanded ECE Requirements on Safety Belt Reminder Fitment Proposed
It is widely accepted that safety belts are one of the most important safety features fitted to motor vehicles and that they are extremely effective in reducing occupant injuries in a variety of vehicle impact scenarios. For this reason, most countries around the world have legal requirements in place to mandate the wearing of safety belts by all occupants of motor vehicles. However, despite these mandatory, safety belt wearing requirements, real world in use safety belt usage rates vary widely between countries and safety belt usage rates for rear seat occupants tend to be much lower than those for front seat occupants.
To assist in addressing this issue, an 07 series of amendments to United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Regulation No. 16 on safety belts and restraint systems, has been proposed to expand the requirements relating to the mandatory fitment of safety belt reminder systems. Safety belt reminder systems are systems which provide the driver with visual and audible warnings when the safety belts are not fastened. Requirements for safety belt reminder systems were first introduced into ECE Regulation No. 16 by the 05 series of amendments, which mandated their fitment to the driver's seating position in all M1 category vehicles, i.e. passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles with less than 10 seating positions. The draft 07 series of amendments to ECE Regulation No. 16, proposes to extend the mandatory safety belt reminder system fitment requirements to other seating positions, and to other categories of vehicle.
The draft 07 series of amendments to ECE 16 propose the mandatory fitment of safety belt reminder systems to the driver's seat and to any other seating positions in the same row as the driver's seat for all M and N category vehicles. They also propose the mandatory fitment of safety belt reminder systems to all rear seating positions in M1 and N1 category vehicles, i.e. passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, vans, pick-ups and light trucks.
According to the requirements specified in this draft series of amendments, safety belt reminder systems fitted to the front seating positions must be able to detect if the seat is occupied and provide a warning when the seat is occupied and the safety belt is not fastened. Safety belt reminder systems fitted to rear seating positions are not required to detect if the seat is occupied, but must provide a warning if a safety belt that was fastened is unfastened whilst the vehicle is in motion.
The draft 07 series of amendments to ECE 16 were formally adopted at the 170th session of the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) in November 2016 and they have recently been allocated a provisional date of entry into force of 22nd June 2017. Official publication of this series of amendments is expected during May or June 2017.
It is proposed that compliance with this new series of amendments will become mandatory for new types of vehicle from 1st September 2019. However, this date is delayed until 1st September 2022 for vehicles fitted with removable rear seats or with suspension seats.