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IAM RoadSmart, the RAC and a coalition of UK road safety and motor industry bodies are encouraging private and fleet car buyers to insist on autonomous emergency braking (AEB) when they purchase new cars, a measure the group says could save hundreds of lives every year.

The coalition members are highlighting what they consider to be a simple but effective way to reduce death and injury on the country’s roads. AEB systems use sensors to monitor the proximity of other road users and automatically apply the brakes to avoid an impending crash with another vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.

The group has estimated that pedestrian and cyclist sensing AEB systems could potentially save 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next 10 years. The coalition says that if more car buyers insist on these systems, they could deliver an extra saving of 308 fewer deaths and serious injuries by 2025, and save society £138m (US$185m). The coalition includes experts on car and road design, fleet operations, driver training, and human behavior, who have contributed statistics, campaign materials and research to highlight key issues in road collisions.

“AEB has been demonstrated to reduce the number and severity of accidents, and can therefore contribute to a further reduction in casualties on UK roads,” explained David Bizley, chief engineer at RAC motoring services. “It will be fitted as standard on new vehicles from the early 2020s, but until then, the RAC is encouraging members, and indeed all purchasers of new vehicles, to select models fitted with pedestrian and cyclist AEB. By choosing vehicles fitted with pedestrian and cyclist-sensing AEB, and rated as 5* for safety by Euro NCAP, drivers can be confident that they are doing their bit to keep our roads among the safest in the world.”

Richard Burnett, CEO of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), noted, “We fully support the coalition’s calls to accelerate the uptake of vulnerable road user-detecting AEB systems. Measures such as this need very little consideration; if the system has the potential to save lives, then what’s to consider? AEB systems have been fitted as standard to almost all newly registered heavy goods vehicles (trucks) since November 2015.”

Peter Shaw, CEO Thatcham Research, added, “There’s an urgent need to change the consumer and fleet mind-set around car safety. Safety should be a deal-breaker, not a ‘nice to have’. If it doesn’t have AEB, it shouldn’t be a sale.”

 

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