A package of proposed mandatory safety features under consideration for European Union member nations has generally been well-received. One provision, however, has raised concern among tire makers that road safety could actually be compromised rather than improved. Reducing tire noise without simultaneously reducing grip is a very difficult proposition.

The same set of proposed regulations would also require all tires fitted to new vehicles to have tire-pressure monitoring systems in place, offer lower rolling resistance and have increased wet grip - all while cutting noise levels by at least 67%, reports Ward's Auto.

An organization of tire makers, the European Tire and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA) says that goal is not likely to be achieved without a reduction in vehicle safety. An environment organization called Transport & Environment (T&E) says that half of all tires sold today already meet the noise requirements, however, so it does not think the challenge is as difficult as the ETRMA makes it out to be. T&E also claims that 50,000 fatal heart attacks and 200,000 cases of cardiovascular disease are linked to traffic noise each year.

An exemption for large SUVs has the environmental group grumbling, however. Other safety measures to be mandated as standard equipment under the proposed legislation include electronic stability control for all cars and emergency braking control and lane departure warning systems for heavy-duty vehicles.