In-car safety

Title: Comparison of safety requirements in quadricycles and cars

Organisation: TRL
Date uploaded: 11th February 2014
Date published/launched: July 2013

This report documents a desktop study to assess the ease with which bodied quadricycles and tricycles could meet the same requirements as normal cars.

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Vehicles entering service in the EU are ‘type-approved’ to ensure that they meet minimum environmental and safety standards. The process is controlled for category M1 vehicles (cars) by framework Directive 70/156/EEC and for two and three wheeled vehicles by framework Directive 2002/24/EC. These framework Directives refer to a series of requirements on different topics. There are fewer of these topics for two and three wheeled vehicles than for M1 vehicles, and the requirements are less onerous overall.

However, ‘quadricycles’ are an exception because they come within the scope of type-approval for two and three wheeled vehicles despite being equipped with four wheels. Despite a sometimes ‘car-like’ appearance these vehicles are still approved to the less onerous requirements for two and three wheeled vehicles.

This report documents a desk-top study to assess the ease with which bodied quadricycles and tricycles could meet the same requirements as normal cars. The study involved two main tasks:
• An initial review and risk assessment of all safety-related Directives applicable to passenger cars, quadricycles and tricycles;
• A more detailed review of the Directives where the greatest difference in safety performance requirements was identified and it was considered technically difficult for quadricycles to meet the higher standard. The main findings of the work were as follows: • Many of the quadricycle manufacturers are providing significantly higher levels of safety than the minimum that legislation requires of them, particularly with regard to crash safety. Available test results show that some vehicles have been close to passing an M1 frontal or side impact test.
• The M1 Directive requirements that would be most difficult to meet for tricycles and quadricycles are anticipated to be those associated with the frontal and lateral impact tests. These are also thought to be the requirements where there would be the greatest risk if no changes are made.

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