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Radio 4 - 'You and Yours'
Radio 4 - 'You and Yours'

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

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

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

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

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

*** 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.

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Tom Flisher

Tom Flisher

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Thatcham Research

Safer cars, fewer crashes...

As the UK's only insurer funded automotive research centre, Thatcham Research enjoy a wide remit at the forefront of the latest vehicle technology. Thatcham's leading work in vehicle safety and security has a vital role in shaping the designs of new vehicles, whilst the centre is also seen as a key industry player at the forefront of driving standards in vehicle body repair.

Thatcham's Crash Laboratory is the only official UK crash testing centre for consumer safety body Euro NCAP and are viewed as a centre of excellence when it comes to active vehicle safety, particularly the evaluation of new Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) which provide the foundation for future vehicle autonomy.

Enjoying an increasingly global influence in both the insurance and automotive sectors, Thatcham Research expertise is in great demand with a range of opinion leaders being regularly asked to provide their experience and know-how at high profile events and in the media, living up to their reputation as ‘Experts in Safety, Security and Crash Repair’.

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