The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is committed to improving the safety performance of its vehicles. Over the past 14 years, road fatalities have been halved from their 2001 figure of 55,000, in part due to significant investments by the industry in modern vehicle safety features.
The latest figures from the EU show that there were 25,700 fatalities across the EU 28 in 2014. This is approximately 1% less than in 2013, and 18.2% down on the 2010 number.
To further support reduction efforts, manufacturers are working heavily to bring to market ‘smart’, active safety technologies, such as automatic emergency braking and ‘assisted-driving’. These will help avoid road accidents occurring, rather than simply mitigating their effects, and will help save yet more lives.
Meanwhile, European vehicle manufacturers are increasingly calling for an integrated approach to safety. Vehicles have become much safer over the past few decades. New cars tested by the European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP) regularly achieve the top ‘5-Star’ rating, even as the EuroNCAP assessments have become more rigorous and extended to new active safety functions. A ‘3-Star’ rating today is now the equivalent to the performance of the highest rated vehicles of a few years ago.
Additional successes will come where all relevant stakeholders are committed to working together to improve road safety. Better road infrastructure is needed. This includes greater emphasis on applying infrastructure safety rules, as well as improved traffic enforcement regimes.
Additionally, the importance of the driver in road safety outcomes cannot be underestimated. Consistent, higher quality driver training is needed in order to instil in road users the role of safe driver behaviour in preventing road traffic accidents.
Safe driver behaviour and better road infrastructure and enforcement, combined with smarter, safer vehicles, should help further improve overall road safety outcomes. In order to continue the reduction in road deaths, ACEA calls on policy makers to do more to make it possible for smarter cars to be driven on better roads by safer drivers.