The nightmare of being stationary in a traffic jam as a lorry bears down behind at speed could become a thing of the past, as thousands of larger vehicles on UK roads move a significant step further towards safety with new rules this autumn.
From 1 November this year, EU legislation will mandate the fitment of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems on most newly registered Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes. These vehicles are involved in one in five deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.
Standard-fit AEB systems are currently available on nearly 11 per cent of new cars, and offered as an option on a further 18.5 per cent. According to Euro NCAP and ANCAP, the independent safety bodies for Europe and Australasia, AEB is already leading to a 38 per cent reduction in real-world rear-end crashes and proving to be the key to gaining the coveted NCAP 5 star safety rating.
“The proportion of truck fleets with AEB, however, is negligible,” says Peter Shaw, Chief Executive of Thatcham Research, which has led the way in the UK for testing AEB on cars. “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.