A coalition of road safety and motor industry bodies is encouraging private and fleet car buyers to insist on autonomous emergency braking (AEB) when they buy their next new car.
AEB systems apply the brakes to avoid an impending crash with another vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist. It is estimated that pedestrian and cyclist sensing AEB systems could potentially save 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next ten years.
Thatcham Research has calculated that if more car buyers insist on AEB systems they could deliver an extra saving of 308 fewer deaths and serious injuries by 2025 and save society £138m.
Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research said: “There’s an urgent need to change the consumer and fleet mind-set around car safety. Especially when AEB can cost as little as £200. Safety should be a deal-breaker, not a nice to have. If it doesn't have AEB, it shouldn't be a sale.”
The coalition includes experts on car and road design, fleet operations, driving for work, driver training and human behaviour who have contributed statistics, campaign materials and research to highlight key issues in road collisions. Together they support the benefits of the Safe Systems approach to road safety policy and the extra value that partnership can add to government strategy.
Its members include Thatcham Research, IAM RoadSmart, Road Haulage Association (RHA), British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVLRA) and the RAC Foundation.
Sarah Sillars, chief executive officer of IAM RoadSmart, said: “Road safety is a shared responsibility and if individuals and fleets ensure their new cars are fitted with AEB we can all make a contribution to safer roads for vulnerable users now.”
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: “If the combined buying power of fleets and government procurement can be harnessed to adopt AEB it could deliver substantial accident savings very soon.”
David Bizley, chief engineer of RAC Motoring Services, added: “AEB has been demonstrated to reduce the number and severity of accidents, and can therefore contribute to a further reduction in casualties on UK roads. It will be fitted as standard on new vehicles from the early 2020s but until then, the RAC is encouraging members and indeed all purchasers of new vehicles to select models fitted with pedestrian and cyclist AEB. By choosing vehicles fitted with pedestrian and cyclist sensing AEB and rated as 5* for safety by EuroNCAP, drivers can be confident that they are doing their bit to keep our roads among the safest in the world.”
Richard Burnett, CEO of the RHA said: “Measures such as this need very little consideration – if the system has the potential to save lives then what’s to consider? AEB systems have been fitted as standard to almost all newly registered heavy goods vehicles since November 2015. No matter how good a driver’s skills may be, the road network remains a dangerous place. Any measure that can be taken to reduce that danger and the subsequent reduction in the risk of accidents is an obvious solution to a long standing, and distressing problem.”
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