Technologies that reduce speeding – such as ISA and AEB – could be as important for reducing child road deaths as seatbelts, according to the European Transport Safety Council.
In a new report published today (26 Feb), the ETSC says intelligent speed assistance (ISA) and automated emergency braking (AEB) should be fitted as standard on all new cars.
The report highlights that across the EU 8,154 children (aged 14 years and under) have been killed in road traffic collisions in the 10 year period between 2007 and 2016. Approximately half (48%) of these were children travelling in cars, compared to 30% walking and 13% cycling.
The ETSC also says that absent, inappropriate or incorrectly fitted child seats remain ‘a significant problem across the EU’ – adding that mistakes ‘can drastically reduce the effectiveness’ of car seats.
The report points to World Health Organization research which suggests correctly installed and used car seats reduce the likelihood of a road death by up to 80%.
The ETSC is also calling on EU Member States to introduce ‘well-enforced’ 20 mph zones in areas with high levels of walking and cycling, and around schools.
Antonio Avenoso, ETSC executive director, said: “Smart, cost-effective and proven vehicle safety technologies such as AEB and ISA could be as important for saving kids’ lives as the seatbelt.
“But the real change will only come when, just like with seatbelts, these technologies are fitted on every car as standard, not as an optional extra on a select few.
“Not a day goes by without a politician or a carmaker promising that autonomous cars will solve the road safety problem. But if that day comes, it will take decades.
“By 2030 perhaps there will already be a few million automated cars on the world’s roads, compared to more than a billion other vehicles, many of which will be those leaving factories this year.
“There is a grave risk that governments ignore the huge safety benefits that can be achieved by installing proven driver assistance technologies today.”