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Document 52003PC0547

Opinion of the Commission pursuant to Article 251(2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendment to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of mirrors and supplementary systems for indirect vision and of vehicles equipped with these devices and amending Directive 70/156/EEC amending the proposal of the Commission pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty

/* COM/2003/0547 final - COD 2001/0317 */

52003PC0547

Opinion of the Commission pursuant to Article 251(2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendment to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of mirrors and supplementary systems for indirect vision and of vehicles equipped with these devices and amending Directive 70/156/EEC amending the proposal of the Commission pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty /* COM/2003/0547 final - COD 2001/0317 */


OPINION OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 251(2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendment to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of mirrors and supplementary systems for indirect vision and of vehicles equipped with these devices and amending Directive 70/156/EEC AMENDING THE PROPOSAL OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty

2001/0317 (COD)

OPINION OF THE COMMISSION pursuant to Article 251(2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty, on the European Parliament's amendment to the Council's common position regarding the proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type-approval of mirrors and supplementary systems for indirect vision and of vehicles equipped with these devices and amending Directive 70/156/EEC

(Text with EEA relevance)

1. Introduction

Article 251(2), third subparagraph, point (c) of the EC Treaty provides that the Commission is to deliver an opinion on the amendments proposed by the European Parliament at second reading. The Commission sets out its opinion below on the one amendment adopted by the Parliament.

2. Background

- On 7 January 2002, the Commission transmitted to the European Parliament and to the Council its proposal for a Directive [COM(2001)811 final - 2001/0317 (COD)].

- The European Economic and Social Committee delivered an opinion on 24 April 2002.

- In first reading on 9 April 2002 the European Parliament accepted the Commission proposal without amendments according to the simplified procedure.

- The Council adopted its Common Position on 7 April 2003.

The Commission made the following declaration in the Council:

"The Commission regrets that the transition period of thirty-six months prior to the mandatory application of the requirements relating to the type-approval of mirrors and supplementary devices for indirect vision does not cover all categories of new vehicles and components and that a transitional period of seventy-two months was chosen by the Council for passenger cars, light vans and their components."

- On 8 April 2003, the Commission adopted its Communication to the European Parliament on the Council's Common Position, pursuant to the second subparagraph of Article 251(2) of the Treaty.

- On 1 July 2003 the European Parliament adopted, at the second reading, a resolution containing 1 amendment to the Common Position.

3. Purpose of the proposal

The proposal aims to improve road user safety by upgrading the performance of rear view mirrors and accelerating the introduction of new technologies that increase the field of indirect vision for drivers of passenger cars, buses and lorries. As many severe road accidents at crossings, junctions or roundabouts are caused by vehicle drivers who are unaware that other road users are very close to or already beside their vehicles.

"Blind spot" accidents often happen when vehicles are changing direction. When larger vehicles such as trucks or buses are involved, these accidents frequently lead to serious injuries or even fatalities of vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists or drivers of smaller motor cycles. This proposal, based on studies and research that the Commission has discussed with Member States, industry and other interested parties, would add specific blind spot reduction requirements to the existing Directive on rear-view mirrors, as last amended in 1988. The key changes would entail:

- Mounting additional mirrors on certain vehicles (front mirrors on trucks, exterior rear view mirrors on the passenger's side of cars, aspherical mirrors on passenger cars and small commercial vehicles);

- Upgrading technical characteristics of mirrors (e.g. curvature of the surface now 1 200 mm instead of 1 800 mm for main rear view mirrors) in line with technical progress;

- Replacing certain mirrors with other indirect vision systems, such as camera/monitor systems.

This proposal introduces for the first time mandatory harmonised requirements for the type-approval of mirrors and systems for indirect vision for larger motor vehicles within the European Union.

4. Opinion of the Commission on the amendments by the European Parliament

The European Parliament adopted one amendment to the Common Position of the Council at the second reading.

The Amendment concerns the introduction of a new paragraph 7a in Article 2, requesting the Commission to submit a proposal to the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe with the aim to align the provisions of UN/ECE Regulation 46 with the provisions of this Directive.

The Commission can accept this amendment since it is in its own interest to contribute to establishing a high level of protection in the context of the international harmonisation of legislation by submitting a proposal to the UN/ECE as soon as possible after the adoption of this Directive.

5. Conclusion

Pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty, the Commission amends its proposal as set out above.

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