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Cars to have advanced safety systems as standard from 2012

The European Commission unveiled new vehicle safety rules on Friday that it said could save 5,000 lives a year on Europe's roads and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting fuel consumption.

Proposals are to be put to the European Parliament that would mandate the equipping of all new cars with low-resistance tyres, tyre pressure monitors and electronic stability systems from 2012.

Manufacturers will have to build advanced emergency brakes and lane departure warning systems into all new commercial vehicles from the same date.

The European Commission believes the new standards would save 5,000 lives per year in the European Union.

It expects the measures to add between 100 and 300 euros to the price of a new car, but suggests the extra cost would be more than offset over the car's lifetime by savings on petrol.

The proposed regulation sets more stringent noise emission limits for tyres than existing laws and introduces new requirements on wet grip and rolling resistance to help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars and trucks.

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