Active vehicle safety most effective
Ahead of the publication of the European Commission's proposal for new vehicle safety measures later this week, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) calls for a strong focus on active safety technologies, which can prevent accidents from happening.
Over the past decades, passive safety systems – like pre-tensioned seatbelts, airbags and energy-absorbing crumple zones – have made a major contribution to road safety by limiting the consequences of accidents. Now, active safety measures – like autonomous emergency braking systems or lane departure warning – offer the potential to avoid emergency situations altogether, or actively help the driver to manage them properly without having an accident.
To assess the potential, a detailed analysis of road accident statistics was carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Centre Européen d'Etudes de Sécurité et d'Analyse des Risques (CEESAR).
Regarding vision-related accidents with trucks for instance, the TRL/CEESAR analysis shows that active safety measures – using cameras and sensors to increase the driver's field of vision and to draw attention to the critical area – are some 50% more effective in reducing fatalities than re-designing trucks with low-entry cabs.
Another downside of low-entry cabs is their negative impact on the load capacity of trucks, as they require major changes to the layout of a vehicle. The less transport space a truck has, the more vehicles are needed to transport the same amount of freight, which in turn would lead to an increase in CO2 emissions.
'ACEA welcomes the upcoming revision of the General Safety Regulation,' stated ACEA secretary general, Erik Jonnaert. 'We believe that it should concentrate on safety measures that deliver the most tangible results, while also being the most cost-effective.'