Recent findings by the European vehicle manufacturing body ACEA may cast doubt on the efficacy of Transport for London’s bid to improve road safety by forcing the introduction of ‘direct vision’ cabs to the capital, with the organisation concluding that other measures are more effective.
It commissioned a detailed study of road accident statistics by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and the Centre Européen d’Etudes de Sécurité et d’Analyse des Risques (CEESAR) in France.
The study found that modern active safety technologies, including autonomous braking systems and lane-departure warnings, were offering the potential to help the driver either avoid dangerous situations altogether or actively manage the situation to prevent collisions.
Specifically, in vision-related accidents involving trucks, 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 per cent 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.
The report has been produced ahead of publication of the European Commission’s proposals for new General Safety Regulations for vehicles.
ACEA secretary general Erik Jonnaert said the organisation welcomed the review, but: “We believe that it should concentrate on safety measures that deliver the most tangible results, while also being the most cost-effective.”
ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.