Two New ECE Regulations to Protect Vulnerable Road Users Adopted
At the 188th session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), which took place in Geneva on November 14-16, 2022, two new UN ECE Regulations were adopted which are intended to assist drivers in avoiding collisions with vulnerable road users, i.e. pedestrians and cyclists. The first Regulation, which has provisionally been allocated Regulation No. 166, covers the driver’s awareness of vulnerable road users in close proximity to the front and lateral sides of vehicles. The second Regulation, which has provisionally been allocated Regulation No. 167, covers direct vision from the driver’s cab of heavy vehicles.
Proposed ECE Regulation No. 166.00 applies to M1 and N1 category vehicles (i.e. passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, pick-up trucks and vans) and requires the fitment of a system to enhance the driver’s awareness of vulnerable road users, especially children, in close proximity to the front and sides of the vehicle when the vehicle is moving off from stationary. The requirements apply across the full width of the front of the vehicle and to both sides of the vehicle forward of the centre of the exterior rear view mirrors or cameras. Compliance with the vision/detection requirements specified in this proposed Regulation may be achieved by:
- Direct vision
- The rear view mirrors or rear view camera monitor system fitted to the vehicle to comply with the requirements of ECE 46 on indirect vision
- Additional close proximity vision mirror(s)
- An additional close proximity camera system
- A detection system (e.g. parking sensors), or
- A combination of the above.
The proposed Regulation specifies the field of vision that must be achieved by mirrors and camera systems, and the field of detection that must be achieved by detection systems (e.g. parking sensors). It also contains specific test procedures to assess compliance with these field of vision/field of detection requirements.
For each of the permissible vision/detection system, i.e. mirror(s), camera system or detection system, the proposed Regulation also specifies requirements on their design, operation and installation.
Proposed ECE Regulation No. 167.00 applies to M2, M3, N2 and N3 category vehicles (i.e. buses, coaches, trucks and tractor units) and specifies requirements on the driver’s direct vision (i.e. the vision achieved without the aid of indirect vision devices such as mirrors or cameras) of the area directly to the front and to the sides of the driver’s cab. The intention of this proposed Regulation is to provide the drivers of heavy vehicles with improved direct vision of vulnerable road users, i.e. pedestrians and cyclists, in close proximity to the driver’s cab, thereby allowing them to avoid potential collisions with vulnerable road users, especially in urban situations.
Recognising that, due to the wide variety of vehicle designs covered by this proposed Regulation and their different usage profiles, it would not be feasible, or necessary, to specify one level of direct vision performance that all heavy vehicles must comply with, the proposed Regulation specifies three different performance levels:
- Level 1 – For vehicles that often travel in urban areas.
- Level 2 – For vehicles that sometimes travel in urban areas, but which have specific operational limitations.
- Level 3 – For vehicles that seldom enter urban areas.
To determine the direct vision available to the driver, the proposed Regulation adopts a different approach to the approaches specified in other ECE Regulations on vision, such as ECE 46, ECE 125 or ECE 158 which specify vision angles or vision zones. The direct vision measurement specified in the proposed Regulation is based on an "assessment volume", which is generated from a defined area to the front and to the sides of the vehicle, and a defined height above the ground. The vehicle design is then assessed, either by physical measurement or using CAD data, to determine the amount of the "assessment volume" that can be directly viewed by the driver. The advantage of this "volume based" assessment method is that it can be applied to a wide variety of vehicle types and designs without being overly design prescriptive.
Whilst no mandatory introduction dates are specified within these two new UN ECE Regulations themselves, the European Union have already confirmed their intention to mandate compliance with proposed ECE Regulation No. 167 in EU Regulation No. 2019/2144 on "the type approval requirements of motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users", more commonly referred to as General Safety Regulation 2 or GSR 2. According to Annex II of (EU) 2019/2144, compliance with ECE 167.00 will become mandatory for new types of M2, M3, N2 and N3 category vehicle from January 7, 2026, and for all new M2, M3, N2 and N3 category vehicles from January 7, 2029.