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New ETSC report makes strong case for safety technologies, says Thatcham

The new analysis of developments in motorway safety by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) shows that, despite recent progress, around 1900 were killed on motorways in the EU in 2013.

“Motorways are our safest roads, so it is with some dismay that we see the report cites figures from several countries showing that up to 60% of those killed in motorway collisions were not wearing a seatbelt,” said Peter Shaw, CEO of Thatcham Research. “If this is the case, there is a strong argument to support the call for the mandatory installation of intelligent seat belt reminder systems (SBR) for all passenger seats in new cars. Research shows us that where seat belt reminder systems are fitted, belt usage is up above 97%.

“But the technology that is already making a real difference on European roads by preventing the crash happening in the first place is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which has been shown to reduce crashes and subsequent injuries by around 20%.” he adds.

“Low-speed bumps and shunts account for three-quarters of all collisions, typically at urban driving speeds, and AEB systems – currently available in about a quarter of new cars – can completely avoid or reduce the severity of collisions at junctions, roundabouts and in stop-start traffic where one car runs into the back of another.

“AEB is also now increasingly effective at higher speeds, where we are seeing vehicles equipped with this advanced technology able to avoid or mitigate crashes at differential speeds of 50 mph and beyond. These high speed AEB systems are available on 69 per cent of those cars fitted with AEB, including top sellers such as the VW Golf, Nissan Qashqai and BMW 3 Series.

“Widespread adoption of AEB systems will not only reduce injuries and damage on the EU motorway network, but will substantially lessen the numbers of people injured on urban and rural roads, where risk is falling less quickly.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 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. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.