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Car Makers and Consumers Have the Power to Make New Cars Safer

News   •   Jun 06, 2016 13:13 BST

Radio 4 - 'You and Yours'

BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs programme, ‘YOU & YOURS’, today (6 June 2016) featured discussion on the importance of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as a crucial car safety technology – highlighting the role of consumers in insisting it is a key feature on their cars, and the responsibility that car makers have to make it more widely available...

Talking with programme host Winifred Robinson, Matthew Avery, Head of Insurance Research at Thatcham Research, urged drivers to only consider cars equipped with AEB and highlighted the importance of vehicle manufacturers including the technology as standard on new cars, rather than as an option at extra cost.

“We think that if vehicle manufacturers can offer AEB as an option, they can have it as standard across their whole range,” said Avery.

Study data has shown that AEB has the potential to reduce rear end car crashes by up to 40%*, saving lives and preventing casualties** and making it an essential feature for anyone considering a new car.

“When you are buying a new, or even a used car, ask if the vehicle has AEB - automatic braking - and if doesn’t, choose another model,” advised Avery.

A simple online guide to which cars have AEB can be found at www.thatcham.org/aeb-fitment.

Explaining how Autonomous Emergency Braking – the single most important car safety feature since the seat belt - works to prevent a crash by automatically braking the vehicle, Avery confirmed that currently only a fifth (21%) of new cars on sale in the UK have the technology as standard.

Thatcham Research is calling for AEB to be standard fit on all cars by 2022 at the latest, but believes that consumers have the power to make this happen sooner - and benefit financially in the process.

“AEB is a must-have safety device and consumers have the power to demand it from vehicle manufacturers,” commented Avery. “Also, where it is standard you get about a 10% insurance discount, so there’s a payback if you take the AEB system.”

With a recent survey revealing that less than half of motorists are aware of AEB***, there is a clear need to increase levels of consumer knowledge about the technology, as well as making it much more accessible to new car buyers.

Further information about AEB and other advanced car safety features is available at www.thatcham.org/car-safety.

* AEB leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes [source: 2015 study by Euro NCAP and Australasian NCAP [source: www.thatcham.org]

** AEB has the potential to save 1,100 lives and prevent 122,860 casualties in the period 2015 – 2025. [source: www.thatcham.org]

*** Survey conducted for Direct Line Group and Thatcham Research December 2015/January 2016 by Opinium. 2,005 UK adults interviewed online; sample weighted to provide a nationally representative audience.