Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) for vehicles should be mandatory only if they aid road safety, automobile experts say as the issue is considered during an ongoing review of European Union automobile safety rules.

The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, is currently revising the 28-country bloc’s regulation of type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles. The issue also has been debated by the European Parliament, which in November called for the compulsory installation of “certain driver-assistance systems” to reduce the roughly 25,000 deaths caused annually by road accidents in the EU.

A spokesman for ACEA, the European automakers’ group, is calling for regulations to be reformed with care.

The ACEA “would like to underline the need for detailed cost-benefit analyses and proper impact assessments of all safety measures that are being considered,” the spokesman tells WardsAuto. That way, the most effective safety measures causing the “greatest impact” should be selected.

“Advanced driver-assistance systems that can avoid or mitigate accidents, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane-departure warning, can indeed make an important contribution to further improving road safety,” he says.

“However, given that ADAS also covers comfort systems, such as autonomous cruise control (which are not safety systems), ADAS technologies that ‘only’ provide additional comfort for the driver should be excluded” from general safety regulation (GSR) revisions and not made mandatory, the spokesman says.

The European Association of Automotive Suppliers agrees, with a spokesman saying the trade group “specifically supports the new safety features provided for the GSR update,” but “‘comfort’ features should not become mandatory.”

This spokesman notes safety technology can and is made mandatory under EU type-approval laws; for example, since Nov. 1, 2014, all new passenger cars had to have tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Looking ahead, separate ADAS features such as drowsiness monitoring also would “probably be mandatory.”

But “nothing is existing or planned” for other features such as seatbelt reminders or turning assistance, the suppliers’ group spokesman suggests.

“TPMS, AEB, ESC (electronic stability control), ABS (antilock braking systems) and BAS (brake-assistance systems) are regulated, but limited to specific classes” of vehicles under EU type-approval rules, the spokesman says. “By updating GSR, the cost-effectiveness of extending these regulations to all vehicle classes will be evaluated.”

A European Commission spokesperson says officials are assessing the opinions gathered from a public-comment period on changing EU auto safety rules that closed in October.

“The Commission is now analyzing the responses, studying new emerging safety technologies and assessing the cost/benefit impact of any new measures before deciding on any potential next steps,” the official says. The EC is to release a proposal for reforms in May.

These proposals will include rules on installing AEB and lane-keeping assistance systems on cars and vans, intelligent speed-assistance-detection systems and driver-distraction or drowsiness recognition systems in cars, vans, buses and trucks.

The list is not exhaustive, and any proposal will be subject to possible amendments by the EU Council of Ministers and European Parliament.