ESTA NEWSFLASH: Updated General Safety Regulations for new trucks and mobile cranes

From July 2024, all new trucks and mobile cranes sold in the European Union must comply with the EU’s updated General Safety Regulations (GSR).

The new regulations were already in force for new truck types from July 2022 and will apply to all new truck registrations from July this year.

New mobile crane types will have to comply from July 1 this year and all new cranes – whether new types or not – will have to comply as of July 6, 2026.

The GSR is part of the EU’s ‘Vision Zero’ initiative, which targets zero fatalities and serious injuries on Europe’s roads by 2050. It also establishes the legal framework for the approval of automated, fully driverless vehicles in the EU zone, and is aligned with UN-ECE standards in this field.

The regulations require a range of mandatory advanced safety features.

What are the General Safety Regulations for heavy trucks?

Eight safety features will become mandatory on new trucks from July this year. A further two will come into force in 2026 and 2029 respectively.

The eight features are:

  1. Emergency stop signal: A flashing brake light (or similar) that signals to other road users behind the truck that the truck is quickly slowing down or braking heavily.
  2. Tyre pressure monitoring system: A system that monitors the tyre pressure and reports tire pressure loss in real time to the driver.
  3. Blind spot information system: A system that warns the driver of cyclists riding adjacent or crossing in front.
  4. Reversing information: Technology, such as camera or sensors, to give the driver an overview of objects and people behind the truck.
  5. Moving off information system: A system that warns the driver of vulnerable road users in front of the vehicle before driving off or when driving slowly.
  6. Alcohol interlock installation facilitation: The rule change requires a standardised interface for alcoholic interlocks (breathalysers) in vehicles.
  7. Drowsiness and attention detection: Safety systems to assess the driver’s alertness that for instance monitor how long somebody has been driving and warn the driver to take a break when needed.
  8. Intelligent speed assistance: A system that actively monitors speed and alerts the drivers if he/she is breaking the speed limit, to encourage them to slow down.

The two further measure to come into force at a later date are:

  • Cybersecurity: Software used needs to have arrangements against unwanted interference.
  • Software update management: Software used needs to be compatible with prescribed update management requirements.

What are the General Safety Regulations for mobile cranes?

For mobile cranes (and other special purpose vehicles of class N3G) a number of exemptions have been granted, with as a result they only have to comply with the safety features in the above list numbered 1, 3, 4 and 5, plus the software update management requirement.

Extra future safety features

In the near future, the following extra safety features will be required on trucks. It as yet uncertain which one of these (if any) will also apply to special purpose vehicles (e.g. mobile cranes):

A. Distraction recognition and prevention: A safety warning system capable of recognising the level of attention a driver is paying to a situation and warning the driver, if necessary. Set to roll out in a later phase in 2026.

B. Improved direct vision from driver’s position: Specific requirements to improve “direct vision” (what drivers can see directly through the windows of their vehicle) and remove blind spots. The new standards aim to allow drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians faster and easier. Set to roll out in a later phase in 2029.

C. Event (accident) data recorder: A “black box” accident data recorder. Set to roll out in a later phase in 2029.

Why are the General Safety Regulations important?

They will save lives. The EU estimate is that the new regulations will prevent at least 25,000 road fatalities by 2038.

One key objective is to reduce the number of accidents between trucks and vulnerable road users. And three of the proposed features for trucks – the moving off and blind spot information systems – and the new direct vision standard – are aimed at protecting them.

The direct vision standards (point B. above), which will be phased in starting in 2025, include specific requirements to improve how much drivers can see from the cab.

Better direct vision from the cab has been shown to cut accident rates and driver reaction times. The new direct vision standard is directly inspired by a similar scheme in London, in which trucks are rated based on direct vision from the cab. Here, only trucks that meet a set standard are allowed to enter the city.

The driver and truck safety in the future

The GSR is part of a broader effort to make traffic safer, including better risk-mapping and updated rules on road infrastructure, especially for our most vulnerable road users – pedestrians and cyclists – in our growing cities.

Similar safety regulations are likely to be implemented in other nations over the coming years. Outside of the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and Israel are already set to follow the new GSR.

The full text of the General Safety Regulation in all EU languages can be found here: