Could enforcing anti-crash technology help reduce fatalities

This article was published on: 04/12/16

How we can overcome road traffic accident injuries and fatalities is a problem that is being consistently researched. This has led to new systems such as anti-crash technology being developed. According to Thatcham research, less than 10% of cars are sold in the UK with this potentially life saving system, despite the fact it could save thousands of lives a year if more cars had the technology. This is why the British government have started to encourage and even provide a monetary incentive to car buyers to add on this system when buying their next car.

What is anti-crash technology?

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is a technology system whereby a car has built-in sensors which monitor how close the car in front is and how fast this vehicle is travelling in regards to the host vehicle (your car).  If the car in front suddenly brakes, AEB will activate the brakes and stop the car. This means that, even if you have not seen the vehicle in front braking, your car will see it before you. This is why the UK government has urged car manufacturers to install this technology in all new cars as standard, or provide a £500 incentive to have this software as an extra.

 Why is this technology needed?

The Government believes that safety technology, such as AEB, can cut down on accident rates and potentially save 17,000 lives a year in the process... According to reports from Thatcham, 90% of road accidents are caused by human error or distraction. They also went on to say that every accident is reported to cost around £90,000, when the cost to the emergency services and road repairs are included. The Thatcham research article stated the benefits to AEB is not just safety for car owners but is also significantly beneficial  to vulnerable road users;

 “Auto-brake safety not only prevents or reduces the impact for the driver, but the more advanced systems can prevent injury to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.  As environmental, economic and congestion pressures encourage more cyclists and pedestrians, we have seen the proportions of injured road users changing”. 

What are organisations doing about it?

Thatcham Research have launched a campaign called ‘Stop the Crash’, which plans to ask the Treasury to introduce and fund a £500 incentive for those choosing to buy new cars with AEB fitted.  Thatcham CEO, Peter Shaw, claimed that such a scheme would see 100% of the UK new car fleet fitted with AEB by 2025.  As a result, we could see deaths and serious injuries decrease on the UK’s roads in a decade from 2015.

He quoted; “Vehicle technology has been a major factor in cutting UK road deaths from 7,000 plus in the 1970s to 1754 in 2012, an estimated 90% of crashes are due to human error or distraction, so it is easy to see how driver intervention systems can help to substantially reduce the risk or impact of a crash”.

Is AEB only used to prevent car accidents specifically?

Although most people would only think this kind of software only benefits car drivers, car manufacturers are also making AEB that can detect other road uses such as motorcycles, Lorries and cyclists.

BMW has now launched new AEB communication system called ‘left turn assistance’.As reported in the MCN, the system uses a camera and laser scanner mounted on the front of the car to detect oncoming motorcycles, and prevents a car travelling under 6 mph from crossing in front of the bike.

BMW explains: “The laser scanners pick up not only cars and trucks, but also motorcycles. If the sensors detect vehicles approaching from the opposite direction but the car continues to move into the intersection, the left turn assistant activates an automatic braking input in a low speed range up to 10 km/h to prevent a collision. At the same time, a warning sound and relevant warning symbols in the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display advise the driver of the reason for the intervention”.

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