Government urged to make AEB compulsory or offer driver cashback
According to insurance safety experts, Thatcham Research, a government incentive of up to £500 to buyers opting for cars fitted with AEB would offer casualty reductions valued at approximately £20bn by 2025. In a written submission to the Treasury, Thatcham identified potential for significant benefits ranging from the saving of lives to reductions in CO2 emissions, provided car buyers are incentivised and made aware of the benefits.
‘We have presented the Government with what we believe is a compelling case for bringing Autonomous Emergency Braking systems to the attention of UK car buyers and feel that a financial incentive similar in principle to those offered for Electric and other low emissions vehicles will be the most effective way forward,’ says Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research.
‘Currently, seven out of 10 top-selling cars in the UK offer AEB, and for the two best-sellers – the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus – opting for AEB costs just £200. If the Treasury were to incentivise the take-up we could see over 17,000 fewer people killed or seriously injured over the next 10 years’
Thatcham itemised the benefits of such an incentive as:
• 17,190 fewer killed and seriously injured including pedestrians and cyclists
• Potential casualty reduction benefits valued at between £1.8billion and £2.9billion at a benefit to cost ratio of between 1 and 2
• Savings in CO2 as a direct result of fewer collisions, reduced congestion and increased use of technologies like Autonomous Cruise Control
‘In addition, government promotion will pave the way for driverless cars by increasing return on research investment in autonomous technology, and increasing familiarity and user acceptance among drivers,’ says Shaw.
‘A fiscal incentive for AEB would be an important step towards encouraging other safety related new technologies in the evolution of autonomous vehicle development. It is important for the UK that we take a leadership position in the development of such technology.’
‘Today we also heard the Road Safety Foundation call on manufacturers to fit AEB on all new cars; for the EU to mandate fitment on new cars from 2017; and for accelerated research on AEB that works at higher speeds.
‘More promisingly in response, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill gave support to this recommendation, saying: ‘Technology is at the very heart of improving road safety and we want to ensure that all road users benefit from advanced emergency braking technology so that the casualty toll continues to fall.’
Shaw goes on to say: ‘A government that seeks to save lives by promoting positive consumer behaviour or supporting regulation shows real foresight and leadership.’