28 April, 2023

How Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) Are Being Made Mandatory in 18 Million European Cars

This is the second part of our blog series about the EU’s General Safety Regulation (GSR) and how it is making Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) mandatory on European roads. Read the first part here.
Traffic on a highway at senset

The General Safety Regulation (GSR) – The EU’s Best Tool for Fighting Driver Distraction  

Did you know that in 2026, every car in Europe must be equipped with a Driver Monitoring System (DMS) to detect driver distraction? 

The European Union (EU) aims to halve the number of fatal and serious injuries from traffic accidents by 2030. This ambitious goal requires a comprehensive approach, including risk-mapping and updated rules on road infrastructure. But perhaps the most important piece of this puzzle is the General Safety Regulation (GSR), which was first introduced in 2009.  

This first version of the GSR mandated the implementation of certain safety features that were new at the time, including electronic stability control and advanced emergency braking systems. Following the development of new vehicle safety technologies, the European Commission has since published new revisions of the GSR. By directing their focus towards the driver, the new active safety features that are now being made mandatory are expected to save countless lives on European roads.  

How Industry Experts Are Ensuring Effective DMS Implementation  

Mandating new safety features in vehicles is always a meticulous process. But when these new technologies involve making drivers aware of their own behaviors, it gets even more complicated. One of the biggest challenges is making sure that the technology is effective without being irritating for drivers. To ensure that these technologies are implemented correctly, the European Commission relies on valuable input from experts in the field.  

Though our involvement is the CLEPA* group, Smart Eye is one of the companies and organizations to provide this expertise to decision-making bodies. By providing feedback on new GSR drafts, the CLEPA group helps ensure that the legislation supports drivers without bothering them.  

The final version of the EU’s latest revision of the GSR will most likely be made official in May 2023. The legislation presented will be agreed upon by both the European Union and the automotive industry – including automotive manufacturers and suppliers – who have all been involved in defining the legislation.

Woman in car with Driver Monitoring System metrics

Driver Drowsiness and Attention Warning (DDAW): Mandatory Since 2022 

The EU’s goal of cutting road fatalities and injuries in half by 2030 is a daunting undertaking that involves everything from mandating highly advanced vehicle technologies to modernizing infrastructures. But according to the NHTSA, over 90% of all fatal car accidents come down to one thing: human error.  

Distraction and drowsiness can turn the most capable and experienced driver into a serious risk to road safety. To address this problem, the European Commission published a supplementing regulation in August 2021, mandating the use of Driver Drowsiness and Attention Warning (DDAW) systems.  

DDAW systems assess the driver’s alertness by analyzing other vehicle systems, such as steering and lane keeping, and warns the driver if needed. Since July 6, 2022, all new types of vehicles in the EU need to be equipped with a DDAW system.  

Advanced Driver Distraction Warning (ADDW): Saving Lives with Sensors and Algorithms  

However, solely relying on data from other vehicle systems can be an unreliable way to assess a driver’s state. In order to detect driver distraction before it becomes a road safety risk, the European Commission has extended the GSR to also include the mandatory implementation of so-called Advanced Driver Distraction Warning (ADDW) systems.  

This new addition to the GSR is expected to save thousands of lives on European roads, but also by setting an example for corresponding regulations throughout the rest of the world.  

Commonly referred to as Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS), the ADDW features use sensors and algorithms to analyze the driver’s eye and face movements. This data is then used to draw conclusions about the driver’s attention levels. And if the software determines that the driver is distracted for too long, the system alerts the driver – bringing their attention back to the road ahead.  

But what does this addition to the GSR mean for the automotive industry at large? And how do these regulations differ from Euro NCAP’s rating requirements? These are questions we explore in more depth in the next parts of this blog series.  

Want to know more about Smart Eye’s automotive solutions, including our Driver Monitoring Systems and Automotive Interior Sensing? Contact us now.


*CLEPA is the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, representing over 3,000 companies that provide automotive parts, components, and systems for vehicle manufacturers.

Written by Fanny Lyrheden
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