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LRSC welcomes AEB advancement

Thursday 14th March 2013

With 95% of road traffic collisions attributed to human error, the London Road Safety Council (LRSC) has welcomed the advancement of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) which it believes could overcome “that moment of inattention”.

AEB systems use radar, lidar, or video recognition to measure the distance between a vehicle and another vehicle or a pedestrian ahead. Taking into account the speed a vehicle is travelling, AEB calculates the estimated trajectory and warns the driver of an impending impact; if no action is taken, the system will deploy emergency measures.

Last year Road Safety GB reported on new European Commission (EC) regulations, due to come into force in 2014, which will require new cars to have AEB if they are to achieve a five-star safety rating.

An EC study found that AEB could reduce collisions in Europe by 27%, which translates to 8,000 deaths prevented and between £3.9 billion and £6.3 billion saved each year.

James Parker, spokesman for the LRSC, said: “AEB systems are particularly effective in preventing lower speed crashes and collisions with pedestrians.

“This exciting development in vehicle design will help improve safety and is to be welcomed, although there is no suggestion that this should allow drivers to drop their vigilance.”

For more information contact the LRSC.

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Olly: I agree that humans are main contributors to most accidents but, technically, their maintenance activity is a "control" for the hazard of damaged or wrongly inflated tyres. The root cause is what led to the damage (can be pot-holes, speed humps, debris on road) or under-inflation (slow puncture?). Safety is improved firstly by removing root causes, secondly by implementing controls.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (6) | Disagree (2)
+4

In respect of the 'other 5%' of collisions, tyre failure was suggested as a possible cause. I would suggest that many of these deflations are as a result of a collision rather than a main cause. Even then human error is the main cause there, due to negligence over tyre care. You only need to walk through a car park to see low pressure in tyres and tread issues. Human error in ALL road users is a principal factor. But being human we try to blame someone or something else!
Olly, Lancs

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Duncan is correct only if in "human error" he includes "doing nothing" - ie failure to react at all. And this becomes more of a problem the more the system he is operating is automated, leaving him (like airline pilots) doing nothing most of the time. In the same way failing to react is likely to increase if anti-collision braking systems spread.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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0

re: driver error. A 12 month American study of 100 cars equipped with CCTV inside and outside found that 75% (from memory) of accidents immediately followed momentary loss of concentration by the driver. Add to that misjudgement even when concentrating and you're close to 95%. The rest are largely mechanical failures or - believe it or not but some reports say 7% of K accidents are disguised suicides - logical if insurance payout is to be secured.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)
-1

Human error is the ONLY thing that anybody should be interested in.

Error cannot exist independently of the system that allowed the error to happen in the first place.

I'll quote Sidney Dekker (again) from his book "The Field Guide to Human Error Investigations".

"Human error is a symptom of trouble deeper inside a system. To explain failure, do not try to find where people went wrong, but instead find how people's actions and assessments made sense at the time, given the circumstances that surrounded them".
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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+4

Yes Matt, ABS occurred to me after I'd posted the comment!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+6

Just a quick comment on Hugh's earlier post about grip. I expect that AEB won't take account of available grip, ice etc, But ABS does!
Matt Pickard, Senior Project Officer, Casualty Reduction Strategy, Derbyshire County Council

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+9

Those of us with long memories may remember the figure of 95% of road accidents as involving road user factors, being based on work for TRRL by Barbara Sabey as early as 1970-74.

(from an email circulated earlier this week:) Barbara was well known to those in the road safety community due to her lifelong work as a road safety researcher and practitioner. She died last month, her funeral is next week, and an obituary will appear on the PACTS website.
D Sharp, Midlothian

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+2

I'm not saying that 95% is the wrong figure - it depends how you define 'human error' and where you draw the line. When referring to Stats 19, it's always worth remembering that the Police don't actually witness the accidents they report on and can't know what was in the minds of those involved and whilst the factual content of Stats 19 will probably be correct, causation factors are subjective and may not be a reliable guide.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2

I believe the 95% figure comes from stats 19 data, contributary factors are split into various groups - mechanical failure, human error, environmental factors etc. These are then split down into sub categories - failure to look, failure to judge path or speed, driving while unfit through drink or drugs and so on. Given that it's mostly humans in control of vehicles it's to be expected that it's mostly human error that contributes significantly to collisions. Introducing automated vehicles which remove the human element of driving seems to be the most obvious course of action to significantly reduce road casualties.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)
+3

The figure of 95% of road collisions being due to human error is taken directly from the data collected at crashes atended by the police. This is not all collisions but there is no evidence that I am aware of to demonstrate that extrapolating this percentage to apply to all more minor collisions as well is not valid. The academics among you may have more detail available to share?
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

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+6

I suppose the remaining 5% would be where the driver was at the mercy of nature or an Act of God e.g. illness at the wheeel, tree falling, tyre blow-out. Things that really were beyond the control of the driver. In John's example, at the risk of generalising, the human error would seem to be on the part of both the pedestrian and driver as both made mistakes - to differing degrees.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+4

I know that RoSPA estimate that 95% of accidents are due to human error but am not aware of any evidence to back up that claim. I would not wish to hazard a guess at the true figue. Would the human error be on the part of the driver or the pedestrian that suddenly ran across the road?
John, London

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+3

Further thought - would the system take account of the grip available on the road surface? If it were wet or icy, presumably one or more of the wheels could lock up under emergency braking and make the situation worse and could the driver then overide the system - admittedly this all happens very quickly so could be academic anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

This technology should be welcomed – it’s good news! AEB is already being fitted and is just a few hundred pounds on many models of car. It’s likely to have considerable impact on the number and severity of casualties. It will be a common standard fit on new cars from 2014 when only vehicles fitted with this will achieve a 5 star safety rating. AEB will save lives.
James Gibson, Leicestershire

Agree (12) | Disagree (4)
+8

John - do you (or anyone else) think it is more or less than 95%? It's an interesting topic for discussion and very relevant in this subject.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+2

it would be interesting to know where the claim that 95% of accidents being attributed to human error came from.
John, London

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+3

Once again, savings are reductions in expected expenditure. You can save £3-6 billion only if it was ever expected to be spent. It was not, so the saving is a fantasy figure. Values assigned for pain/grief are not the same as expected costs.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (4) | Disagree (19)
-15