Protection of pedestrians and vulnerable road users

Regulation (EC) No 78/2009 on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users

To reduce the number and severity of injuries arising from road accidents involving the fronts of motor vehicles, it introduces requirements and measures to ensure the better protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users*.

The regulation lays down requirements for constructing and operating motor vehicles and frontal protection systems.

Vehicle types covered

The regulation applies to:

motor vehicles of category M1 (essentially passenger cars) defined in Annex II of Directive 2007/46/EC — Motor vehicles — EU type-approval system;
motor vehicles of category N1 (essentially light goods vehicles of up to 3,500 kg in weight) defined in Annex II of Directive 2007/46/EC;
frontal protection systems of those vehicles, fitted as original equipment to the vehicles or supplied as separate units.

Manufacturer obligations


must ensure that vehicles placed on the market are equipped with a type-approved brake assist system;
may add a frontal protection system which must comply with the criteria laid down in this regulation;
must communicate data on the specifications and test conditions of the vehicles to the vehicle approval authorities.

The manufacturer must submit to the authorities an application for EC type-approval in the form of an information document containing:

general information;
construction characteristics; and
information relating to the bodywork of the vehicle.

Obligations of EU countries’ authorities

The approval authority must grant EU type-approval by type of vehicle where the relevant requirements are met by the manufacturer.

One of three letters is granted according to the requirements met by the vehicle, namely:
A (corresponding to the first level of minimum protection);
B (corresponding to the second level of protection); or
X (corresponding to a level of protection for certain specific vehicles).
National authorities must not grant EU type-approval if the frontal protection system does not meet the relevant requirements laid down in this regulation. However, vehicles equipped with collision avoidance systems may not have to fulfil these requirements in the future, upon assessment by the European Commission.

Implementing rules

Commission Regulation (EC) No 631/2009 lays down detailed rules for the implementation of Annex I of the regulation relating to the technical requirements necessary to carry out tests.

Application & Background

It has applied since 24 November 2009 with the exception of:

Articles 4(6) and 9(9) which have applied since 24 February 2009;
Article 9(2) to (8) which apply from various dates, over a period extending as far as 24 August 2019).

Besides the type-approval measures covered in Regulation (EC) No 78/2009, the EU has also adopted Directive 2010/40/EU — The deployment of intelligent transport system in Europe. Such intelligent transport systems-based road safety and security applications have proved their effectiveness, but the overall benefit for society depends on their wider deployment.

For more information, see:

Road safety (European Commission)
Intelligent transport systems (European Commission).


Vulnerable road users: non-motorised road users such as pedestrians and cyclists as well as motor-cyclists and persons with disabilities or reduced mobility and orientation.


Regulation (EC) No 78/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, amending Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 2003/102/EC and 2005/66/EC (OJ L 35, 4.2.2009, pp. 1-31)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 78/2009 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Directive 2010/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the framework for the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in the field of road transport and for interfaces with other modes of transport (OJ L 207, 6.8.2010, pp. 1-13)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 631/2009 of 22 July 2009 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 78/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, amending Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 2003/102/EC and 2005/66/EC (OJ L 195, 25.7.2009, pp. 1-60)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (Framework Directive) (OJ L 263, 9.10.2007, pp. 1-160)

Road traffic offences – sharing information between countries

Directive (EU) 2015/413 – sharing information on road traffic offences

It sets out rules to reduce the impunity of foreign drivers who commit dangerous traffic offences by making it easier for police authorities in different EU countries to share information to identify offenders.

Key Points

The Directive applies to the following offences:

failing to use a seatbelt
failing to stop at a traffic light
driving while under the influence of drugs
failing to wear a safety helmet
using a forbidden lane (e.g. a bus lane)
using a mobile phone or other communication device while driving.

Every country must give any other country investigating an offence committed on its roads access to their national vehicle registration data, so they can identify vehicles and their owners or users.

If the country where the offence took place decides to take further action, they must notify the possible offender and inform them of the legal consequences, in a letter that states:

the nature of the offence
the location, date and time
the law infringed and the penalty
(if appropriate) the device used to detect the offence.
To monitor the performance of this arrangement, each country must send a report to the Commission by May 2016 and every 2 years after that, with details of searches made and of the number of notification letters subsequently sent out.

Application & Background

It entered into force on 17 March 2015.

It had to be incorporated into national law by 6 May 2015. This deadline was postponed until 6 May 2017 for Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (1).

The preceding Directive on this issue, Directive 2011/82/EU, was annulled by the EU Court of Justice in 2014 because it had the wrong legal basis.


Directive (EU) 2015/413 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences (OJ L 68, 13.3.2015, pp. 9–25)

last update 10.11.2015

(1) The United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union and becomes a third country (non-EU country) as of 1 February 2020.

Motor vehicles and trailers: vehicle registration documents

The Directive harmonises the form and content of vehicle registration certificates.

Council Directive 1999/37/EC of 29 April 1999 on the registration documents for vehicles.

The Directive applies to the documents issued by the EU countries. It has 3 aims:

to make it easier to use vehicles registered in one EU country on the roads of the other EU countries. It makes it simpler for the relevant national authorities to check registration certificates;
to enable the implementation of Directive 2006/126/EC on driving licences to be verified by means of roadside checks;
to improve the functioning of the internal market by making it easier to understand documents, and check rightful ownership, where a vehicle has been registered in another EU country.

The registration certificate issued by EU countries must conform to a model described in the Annex to the Directive. This makes it easier, where a vehicle is registered in another Member State, to check rightful ownership, particularly where the applicant is not the holder of the registration certificate. The first part of the registration certificate is for driving on the road, while the second is reserved for information on the ownership.

EU countries may issue a registration certificate consisting solely of Part I of the model. This applies in cases where vehicles are used only within their territory and they have at their disposal a system to access the vehicle register, in the event of roadside checks.

A registration certificate issued by an EU country must be recognised by the other EU countries. Directive 2014/46/EU further requires EU countries to keep an electronic record of data on all vehicles registered on their territory.

An EU country’s authorities are notified if a roadworthiness test carried out in accordance with Directive 2014/45/EU shows the authorisation to use a particular vehicle has been suspended. This suspension must be recorded electronically and an additional roadworthiness test carried out. The suspension is effective until a new roadworthiness test has been passed successfully.

Where a motor vehicle or a trailer previously registered in one EU country is re-registered in another EU country, the competent authorities in that EU country must return the registration certificate to the authorities in the EU country in which it was issued, if so requested.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 1999/37/EC



OJ L 138 of 1.6.1999

Amending acts

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2003/127/EC



OJ L 10 of 16.1.2004

Act of Accession


OJ L 236 of 23.9.2003

Directive 2006/103/EC



OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

Directive 2013/22/EU



OJ L 158 of 10.6.2013

Directive 2014/46/EU



OJ L 127 of 29.4.2014


Directive 2014/45/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers and repealing Directive 2009/40/EC (Official Journal L 127 of 29.4.2014).

Directive 2014/47/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Union and repealing Directive 2000/30/EC (Official Journal L 127 of 29.4.2014).

Civil liability insurance for motor vehicles

Directive 2009/103/EC – Civil liability insurance for motor vehicles

Motor insurance represents a significant proportion of non-life insurance policies entered into within the European Union (EU). This Directive aims to help EU residents involved in a road accident in another EU country.

Under the Directive, subscribers to compulsory motor insurance policies in all EU countries are covered for motoring throughout the EU.

Key Points

The Directive:

—requires all motor vehicles in the EU to be covered by compulsory third-party liability insurance*
—abolishes border checks on insurance so as to facilitate international travel within the EU
—prescribes minimum third-party liability insurance cover in EU countries
—specifies exempt persons and authorities responsible for compensation
—introduces a mechanism to compensate local victims of accidents caused by vehicles from another EU country
—requires the quick settlement of claims arising from accidents occurring outside the victim’s EU country of residence (so-called ‘visiting victims’)
—entitles policy holders to request a statement concerning the claims (or absence of claims) involving their vehicle during the 5 years preceding the contract.

The Directive does not regulate issues of civil liability including compensation awards, which are decided by EU countries, or ‘comprehensive cover’ for physical injury of the driver or damage to vehicles.

Application &  Background

From 27 October 2009.

European Commission website on motor insurance


Third party liability insurance: coverage for damage, loss or injury inflicted on another party as a result of the actions of the policy holder.


Directive 2009/103/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/103/EC


-OJ L 263, 7.10.2009, pp. 11-31


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