Three questions that might save your life

Automotive industry giants appeal to new car buyers attending the London Motor Show to put safety at the top of their agenda with three crucial questions.

AEB testing at Thatcham ResearchThatcham Research, Bosch, Continental and ZF TRW are attending the London Motor Show this weekend as part of the Global NCAP #STOPTHECRASH partnership promoting the greater consideration of vehicle safety amongst consumers when making new car purchasing decisions.

The message the partnership will be giving to show attendees is to ask dealerships three life-saving questions before deciding whether to buy a car from them, namely:

* What is the Euro NCAP crash test rating for the car?
* Is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) a standard fitment on the car?
* What else should I do to maximise the safety protection offered by this car?

By asking these questions and making buying decisions based on them, car buyers will be reducing the annual incidences of 100,000 rear end crashes in the UK as well as benefitting from the highest levels of safety available on the automotive market.

Saving lives with AEB

There is a great deal of evidence that shows that AEB is a life-saving technology with Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) reporting that the use of AEB reduced rear-end crashes in the real world by 38%.

Notwithstanding this and despite the fact that good progress has been made by vehicle manufacturers in making AEB available, only 17% of new cars that are on sale in the UK at the moment have the technology as a standard feature.

“Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard should be the number one priority for anyone choosing a new car,” stated David Ward, Secretary-General of the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP). “The technology is already available in one form or another from almost every car manufacturer and in the absence of legislation to make it mandatory, we are encouraging consumers to use their power of choice to ensure that every new car coming onto the road has this life-saving feature fitted.”

Demonstrations showing the safety advantage provided by Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) will run throughout the show and visitors to the #STOPTHECRASH stand will be able to check which new cars have AEB as standard using an online resource that is hosted on the Thatcham Research website.

Tyre safety

Tyre safety will also come under the spotlight at the show as Continental demonstrates how low tread depth has a detrimental effect on grip. By running tyres down to the UK legal minimum of 1.6mm, users are allowing the tyres to deteriorate in efficiency by as much as 55%.

Because of this, Continental recommends replacing tyres when the tread depth reaches 3mm, which provides a reasonable compromise between safety, economics and driver confidence. The need to educate drivers on why this is important stems from research conducted in a survey by Continental Tyres which indicates that 40% of drivers have never checked the tread of their tyres, choosing instead to wait for a service, while 20% admit that they do not even know how to carry out a tyre check.

“Research shows that three quarters of all collisions occur at speeds under 20 mph,” commented David Ward. “Even the most basic AEB system in conjunction with sensible tyre safety could prevent the vast majority of these incidents.”

Making the Right Choice

A recent survey of 981 motorists carried out in February and March 2016 indicated that drivers are more likely to pay extra for satellite navigation and digital radio than they are to invest in safety features, a situation that #STOPTHECRASH believes has to change as part of the move towards higher standards of road safety.

“Less than half of consumers are ticking the option box on safety features, which means a significant opportunity to save lives is being missed,” said Ward. “While the simplest way to increase uptake of safety technologies such as AEB is to make them standard on all new cars, better and more widely available information about how they work and the benefits they provide is the key to changing drivers’ attitudes and we believe that vehicle manufacturers and automotive retailers have a vital shared role to play in this respect.”

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Vehicle Technology

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