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Europe risks falling behind US on vehicle safety, warns Thatcham

The call comes from Thatcham Research following last week’s decision by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and 20 vehicle manufacturers to make Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) standard on all vehicles in the US by 2022.

Commenting on the news, Thatcham Research’s chief executive, Peter Shaw said: “These are major landmarks for vehicle safety, with the US leading the way. Europe risks falling behind. Unless we have a similar agreement amongst European vehicle manufacturers, legislation is the only way to go.”

Research has shown that vehicles fitted with AEB are capable of reducing the likelihood of front to rear crashes by up to 40% and at the current fitment rate has the potential to save 1,130 lives and 126,000 casualties over the next 10 years.

Analysis by Thatcham Research shows that only 2% of vehicles currently on the road in the UK have AEB as standard fit while only 17% of new vehicles available to buy having AEB as standard fit.

Peter Shaw added: “We recognise that many vehicle manufacturers, like Land Rover, have really upped their game in the past few years when it comes to car safety. They are pioneering new technologies. In 2014, the Land Rover Discovery Sport for example was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP, and is only one of two vehicles in the market that has an external pedestrian airbag.

“However, if AEB as standard on all vehicles is going to become a reality in Europe, it is going to require collaboration between regulators and everyone in the automotive industry,” added Shaw.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.