New driver assistance technology is making British roads safer, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – if you’re lucky enough to have it fitted.
The vehicle makers’ body in the UK says systems to reduce errors and accident severity are “available” on 70% of new cars, but the claim has been attacked by the insurers’ test centre at Thatcham which says 70% still don’t have standard autonomous emergency braking systems.
Thatcham Research’s chief executive Peter Shaw said last year, “We fully support the European Parliament in its call for standard fitment of key car safety technologies like Autonomous Emergency Braking.
“The imperative now is for the European Commission to publish its proposals and to enshrine it in a binding agreement supported by the UK Government.
“Autonomous Emergency Braking can lead to a 38% reduction in real-world, rear-end accidents, but with just 30% of new vehicles currently on sale in the UK having AEB as standard, it seems that only through legislation will we be able to ensure that lifesaving technologies such as AEB or speed adaptation systems will become standard.”
Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’.
Data from SMMT and JATO Dynamics shows that some 66.8% of new cars are offered with at least one self-activating safety system, either as standard or as an optional extra.
Nearly 1.8 million new vehicles a year are now available with collision warning systems alone, up 20% on the previous year.
It’s just one of a raft of technologies now in showrooms, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), parking assistance, adaptive cruise control and overtaking (or blind spot) sensors.2 AEB, for example, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid or reduce the effects of an impact, is available on more than half (53.1%) of new cars, with a quarter featuring the technology as standard.
Meanwhile, overtaking sensors are available to 42.1% of buyers and Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows the car to slow down and speed up automatically to keep safe pace with the vehicle in front, to 36.2%.
Parking assistance technology, including cameras and sensors, is available as standard or an option on 58.8% of new cars. Consumers are also benefiting from the latest technology, which allows cars to park themselves in the tightest of spaces, and is now on nearly a quarter of a million vehicles registered.
Examples of exciting technology due to debut in showrooms in 2018 include Traffic Jam Pilot, where, in the right conditions, the car can take over the task of driving in slow moving traffic or queues; smartphone – or key fob-controlled remote parking; and pre-collision warning systems, which detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.