Before the publication of the European Commission’s proposal for new vehicle safety measures, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has released a proposal paper calling for a focus on new active safety technologies.
Vehicle manufacturers are adding new safety technologies in order to achieve high Euro NCAP ratings, showing their models can protect passengers in the event of an accident. Active technologies go even further, monitoring conditions and preventing crashes, either through warnings or taking control of braking.
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, many vehicles are including autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warnings as standard to help avoid or manage emergency situations.
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.’
The paper states that despite a three-fold increase in traffic, road safety in Europe has improved significantly in the last 30 years. Maintaining this trend is therefore important for an industry that prides itself on designing, producing, and selling safe, comfortable, and efficient vehicles in probably one of the most demanding markets in the world. The industry has a number of priorities in the field of safety that it wishes to see addressed.
Alongside active systems, the paper also recommends a detailed cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment for all measures considered, separated into different vehicle categories and that measures need to take into account the different usage and characteristics of vehicles (passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, heavy trucks, etc.).
ACEA recommends that other active safety systems, such as emergency braking displays (EBD); safety belt reminders (SBR); alcohol interlock interface (AI); crash event data recorder (EDR); reverse detection; tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS; front-end blind spot cameras and detection systems as just some of the additional measures that should be included within type-approval of new models under Commission rules.