A Government incentive to encourage drivers to buy cars with anti-crash technology would save 60 lives and result in 760 fewer serious casualties in three years, according to Thatcham Research.
Thatcham Research, the insurance industry’s automotive research centre, goes on to say that over 10 years such an incentive would save 1,220 lives and nearly 136,000 casualties.
At a briefing at the House of Commons today (25 March), Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said that in the UK cars equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) have 18% fewer third party injury claims. Mr Shaw said that similar studies from the USA highlighted a 26% reduction in injuries, and in Switzerland and Sweden front/rear crashes have been cut by 31% and 48% respectively.
Thatcham has launched a new campaign, ‘Stop the Crash’, which asks the Treasury to introduce and fund a £500 incentive for people choosing to buy a new car with AEB fitted. It claims that this would result in 100% of the UK new car fleet fitted with AEB by 2025 which could avoid more than 17,000 deaths and serious injuries on the UK’s roads.
Peter Shaw said: “Vehicle technology has been a major factor in cutting UK road deaths from 7,000+ in the 1970s to 1,754 in 2012.
“An estimated 90% of crashes are due to human error or distraction, so it is easy to see how driver intervention systems can help to substantially reduce the risk or impact of a crash.
“A responsible driver who pays extra to reduce the potential impact of their car should benefit from a helping hand from the Government.
“The time is right to demonstrate to consumers that vehicles with AEB should be their natural choice and we calculate that with a £500 cash incentive – about half the additional cost of the AEB system – the Government would be meeting the motorist halfway.”
Thatcham says that currently around 23% of new cars have AEB available as optional or standard fit – but less than 10% of cars sold have it fitted. Insurers recognise the benefits, with AEB-fitted cars given a rating of as much as five groups lower than their counterparts, and potentially saving up to 10% on insurance premiums.
Thatcham also says that auto-brake safety not only prevents or reduces the impact for the driver, but the more advanced systems can prevent injury to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Thatcham is a not-for-profit research centre, funded by the insurance industry and with the primary aim of containing or reducing the cost of claims in the areas of vehicle safety, security and repair. It has a fully equipped repair technology centre, a Euro NCAP approved crash facility as well as an adult and apprentice automotive academy, all based at Thatcham in Berkshire.