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Europe Risks Falling Behind America in Vehicle Safety

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Europe Risks Falling Behind America in Vehicle Safety

Responding to the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC) call for an overhaul of the European car safety framework, Thatcham Research supports the need for regulatory intervention to ensure that lifesaving technologies such as Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) is standard on all vehicles.

However, it could also be achieved voluntarily by the EU automotive industry according to Thatcham Research’s Chief Executive, Peter Shaw:

“Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), along with 20 vehicle manufacturers, agreed to make AEB standard on all vehicles in the US by 2022. We’ve also just seen Lexus and Toyota committing to fit AEB as standard on every trim and model level in the US by the end of 2017.

“These are major landmarks for vehicle safety, with the US leading the way. Europe risks falling behind. Unless we have a similar agreement amongst European vehicle manufacturers, legislation is the only way to go.”

Research has shown that vehicles fitted with AEB are capable of reducing the likelihood of front to rear crashes by up to 40% and at the current fitment rate has the potential to save 1,130 lives and 126,000 casualties over the next 10 years.

Analysis by Thatcham Research shows that only 2% of vehicles currently on the road in the UK have AEB as standard fit. This figure is growing but not fast enough – with only 17% of new vehicles available to buy having AEB as standard fit.

A recent survey conducted by Thatcham Research and Direct Line Insurance Group in the UK, also revealed that 82% of drivers think car safety features like AEB should be fitted as standard and available for free. Not as an “extra”.

“We recognise that many vehicle manufacturers, like Land Rover, have really upped their game in the past few years when it comes to car safety. They are pioneering new technologies. In 2014, the Land Rover Discovery Sport for example was awarded 5 stars by Euro NCAP, and is only one of two vehicles in the market that has an external pedestrian airbag.

“However, if AEB as standard on all vehicles is going to become a reality in Europe, it is going to require collaboration between regulators and everyone in the automotive industry,” concludes Shaw.

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Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.

Press contacts

James Smith

James Smith

Press contact Head Of Communications 01635 293101
Tom Flisher

Tom Flisher

Press contact PR Manager 01635868855
Kate Bailey

Kate Bailey

Press contact Communications Executive PR & Communication +44 7384 830 461
Francesca Turton

Francesca Turton

Press contact PR Executive PR & Communication +44 7943 848 528

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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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