European cities consider measures against SUVs following Paris referendum

93 days ago

3 minutes

Sources: CNBC, Vias

Citing safety and environmental concerns, cities across Europe are following Paris’ lead with new laws aiming to discourage citizens from buying SUVs

Paris SUV parking charge

In a recent referendum, the majority of Parisians voted to increase parking fees for SUVs in an attempt to discourage more users from choosing this mode of transport. Due to their larger size, SUVs emit more emissions and pollute the environment more than other vehicles, as well as being a concern for road safety. Other cities have since taken action following the Paris vote, and a report also highlights the dangers these vehicles can pose to other road users.

Recent report on SUVs causing increased injuries in road collisions

Belgian knowledge institute Vias has also reported on the vehicle characteristics that affect injury severity after analysing all collisions between 2017 and 2021, involving 300,000 car occupants and vulnerable road users. The results show that vehicle mass plays an important role in the impact of a collision, with drivers of heavier vehicles more likely to be protected by the vehicle (injury risk in a collision decreases by 25% for SUV drivers), but individuals hit by them being more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries (injury risk increased by 20% for car occupants that collided with an SUV).

These findings also have concerning implications for the safety of other road passengers such as cyclists and pedestrians. Vias reported that the risk of fatal injuries increases by 30% if either a cyclist or pedestrian gets hit by a car with a hood that is 10cm higher than average.

Cities in Europe also implementing policies to curb SUV sales.

With reports on sales of SUV vehicles on the increase, Paris is not alone in its bids to decrease the popularity of heavier SUV vehicles:

  • Paris’ SUV referendum originally followed the initiative of fellow French city Lyon, which had already announced a similar policy to enforce higher parking charges for heavier vehicles, which will be applied next June.
  • Another city in France, Grenoble, has already enforced a higher environmental tariff for heavier vehicles in car parks and is now also considering taxing SUVs as an additional initiative, as confirmed by the mayor’s spokesperson to CNBC.
  • French city Grenoble, meanwhile, has already implemented a higher environmental tariff in car parks for heavier vehicles, and a spokesperson from the mayor’s office in Bordeaux told CNBC that the city and the mayor are “at the reflection stage on the subject of taxing SUVs.”
  • Meanwhile in Germany, the city of Tübingen has introduced a six-fold increase in the annual cost of resident parking permits to 180 euros for vehicles with a combustion engine, that weigh over 1.8 metric tons.
  • The mayor of Hannover in Germany, told CNBC that after the Paris vote, residents of the city would “also have to face the question of how we deal with vehicles that take up more space.”

Meanwhile, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan implied that he would be paying attention to the effectiveness of these policies. It will be interesting to see the ongoing effects of these SUV policies, and if other cities will also join on trying to mitigate SUV usage due to road safety and environmental concerns.


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