SNP MEP Ian Hudghton says he is heartened by an EU commitment to fit additional safety mechanisms in cars which would prevent children being able to start a car's engine. The MEP contacted Commissioner Verheugen on behalf of a constituent whose child died in a tragic accident last year. Mr Hudghton, a member of the European Parliament's Transport committee explained:

"At the moment, most cars can be started by anyone simply by turning the key in the ignition and a child's curiosity can lead to the tragic loss of life.

"My constituent suggested that vehicles could be fitted with a device which prevents the engine being started unless the clutch or brake pedal is depressed. While these interlocking mechanisms are already fitted to many vehicles in the EU, there is no requirement as yet for cars sold in the EU to have them fitted. Hence my approach to the Commission to see what could be done.

"I was therefore heartened by the response I received from Commissioner Verheugen's in which he gives a commitment to encourage manufacturers to fit these devices. As a first step, Mr Verheugen has contacted the Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, and the European office of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

"I shall be asking the Commissioner to report on the industry's reaction to his approach and shall continue to press for the installation of these safety measures to become mandatory in all cars sold in the EU."

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