ERF calls on European and National Authorities to ensure a level playing field for Notified Bodies in the field of Vehicle Restraint Systems
Today, the ERF is launching an urgent appeal to authorities to seriously consider the current problematic functioning of notified bodies for the hEN 1317-5 for vehicle restraint systems and to take measures for improving the situation.
Since 1 July 2013, all vehicle restraint systems covered by the hEN 1317-5 have to bear a ‘CE marking’ according to the provision of the Construction Products Regulation No 305/2011. In an open European market, notified bodies act as ‘passport issuers’ and thus have a crucial role to play to safeguard the integrity of the system
Over the last three years, unfortunately, ERF and its members have come across numerous practices by certain notified bodies which are not in accordance the provision of law, distort the internal market for vehicle restraint systems and can conceivably put road users at risk.
‘We are seeing more and more of these cases, which is why we decided as a group to react and publish this position paper, which outlines a series of incorrect practices and proposes a series of measures to improve the current unsatisfactory status quo’, explains Konstandinos Diamandouros, Head of Office at the European Union Road Federation and responsible for vehicle restraint systems.
‘While it is understandable that some mistakes can occur when assessing the performance of products, what we are seeing today in the market cannot be explained by simple error’, explains Jeanne Forêt, Chairperson of the ERF Working Group on Road Restraint Systems. ‘Most recently, we have even come across CE certificates, which have been issued by notified bodies that are not even notified to the hEN1317-5, a practice which is 100% illegal and cannot be a simple error’.
The next steps of the working group will be to raise awareness of the problems encountered in the market and take targeted steps for improving the situation. Amongst others, this will consist of elaborating informational brochures which can assist road authorities in determining whether a certificate is genuine or not and proposing dedicated information sessions to interested parties.
‘We are ready to take the necessary steps to contribute from our side to improve the way notified bodies currently function’ explained Konstandinos Diamandouros. ‘Nevertheless, it is essential that road authorities, national surveillance authorities and the European Commission clearly acknowledge the nature of the problem and start proposing tangible solutions’.