#STOPTHECRASH puts safety first

Visitors to the London Motor Show this weekend will be told the three key life-saving questions consumers need to ask when buy a new car.

Thatcham Research, Bosch, Continental and ZF TRW have joined forced as part of the Global NCAP #STOPTHECRASH partnership to improve safety on UK roads and reduce the annual toll of 100,000 rear-end shunts.

As part of this, they have devised three key questions consumers should ask before a purchase:

  • What Euro NCAP test rating does this car have?
  • Is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) fitted to this car, and is it standard?
  • What else should I do to maximise the safety protection offered by this car?

Part of the #STOPTHECRASH objective is to help consumers appreciate the value of safety systems. A recent survey indicated that drivers are more likely to pay extra for satellite navigation and digital radio than they are to invest in safety features.

David Ward, secretary general of the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP), said, ‘Less than half of consumers are ticking the option box on safety features, which means a significant opportunity to save lives is being missed.

‘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.’

With regards AEB, the evidence is unequivocal. A report released by Euro NCAP in 2015 found that Autonomous Braking Systems were responsible for a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes. Despite these statistics, AEB is only standard fit on 17% of new cars currently on sale in the UK.

‘Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard should be the number one priority for anyone choosing a new car,’ said David. ‘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 on to the road has this life-saving feature fitted.’

Visitors to the show will be able to see demonstrations of AEB at the #STOPTHECRASH stand, and will be able to check which new cars have AEB as standard using an online resource hosted on the Thatcham Research website.

Tyre safety will also be highlighted, with representatives from Continental on hand to demonstrate the effect that low tread depth can have. The UK legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, yet tests show tyres only perform at 55% efficiency with this amount of wear.

Continental recommends replacing tyres when tread depth reaches 3mm as a responsible compromise between safety, economics and driver confidence, and is focused on educating drivers on the reasons why this is important.

Research 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.

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