Thatcham Research has welcomed legislation which will see AEB become mandatory on HGVs, which it says are involved in one in five deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.
From November 2015, EU legislation will mandate the fitment of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems on the majority of newly registered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes.
AEB systems are currently available either as standard or an optional extra on almost 30% of new cars. Euro NCAP and ANCAP, the independent safety bodies for Europe and Australasia, say AEB is already leading to a 38% reduction in rear-end crashes and is “key to gaining the coveted NCAP 5 star safety rating”.
Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said: “The proportion of truck fleets with AEB is negligible. The Commission’s ruling to make it mandatory has spurred the industry to catch up, but it will be many years before the UK’s fleet of 500,000 HGVs are all equipped with this level of safety.
“We know the devastating effect of a large lorry failing to stop and running into a stationary car – or multiple cars. Haulage operators need only to see AEB in action or watch video footage to recognise this is truly impressive and effective technology. Avoiding a crash is critical to the lives of road users and to protect the company’s legal standing and reputation.
“While the impending EU legislation on HGVs is great news, the situation on light commercial vehicles (LCVs) is still a concern.
“From a fleet of nearly 2.7m LCVs on UK roads, we know of just two models with optional AEB on the UK market, although others are being introduced towards the end of this year.”
“The most responsible fleet buyers are starting to select AEB fitment on their cars. It’s now time to recognise that if you need any form of commercial vehicle for your business or service using publicly-funded roads, you have a duty of care to minimise death, injury or damage.”