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Euro NCAP launches ratings for advanced driver assistance systems

Euro NCAP launches ratings for advanced driver assistance systems

Euro NCAP has launched a new rating scheme for driver assistance systems fitted to the latest generation of vehicles, including advanced cruise control and lane keeping assistance.  Some manufacturers have been criticised for using inappropriate marketing, weak driver monitoring or poor safety backup. For its 2020 assessment of so-called “highway assist” systems, Euro NCAP developed a dedicated test and assessment protocol, divided into two main areas: Assistance Competence, based on the balance between Driver Engagement and Vehicle Assistance, and Safety Backup. The systems score […]

Insurers warn over risks of hands-off automated driving on UK roads

Insurers warn over risks of hands-off automated driving on UK roads

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are urging the UK government to revise its plans to introduce Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) onto UK roads in early 2021 because “it will put road users’ lives at risk”. The organisations say the government should undertake further work to ensure road safety is fully considered before introducing Automated Lane Keeping Systems. The concerns are raised as both the functionality of ALKS technology and the regulations under which they will operate will mean that […]

AEB systems cut rear-end collisions by 45%

AEB systems cut rear-end collisions by 45%

A study carried out for ETSC’s Italian member ACI by the Filippo Caracciolo Foundation in collaboration with the Polytechnic of Turin has investigated the real world effectiveness of automated emergency braking (AEB) systems in preventing rear-end collisions. The authors cross-referenced data including: information from event data recorders in a sample of 1.5 million vehicles in 2017 and 1.8 million in 2018; information on the nature of collisions extracted from the ACI-ISTAT database and model information for cars on the road (the Public Automobile Register). […]

Concerns raised over draft technical specifications for mandatory Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems

Concerns raised over draft technical specifications for mandatory Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) systems

ETSC and a coalition of organisations have written to EU Member States raising serious concerns about draft technical specifications for Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), a mandatory new safety technology for new vehicles due to be introduced from 2022. Excessive speed is still one of the biggest killers on our roads, as the latest data from Germany confirm. Around a third of fatal collisions involve at least one party driving at an inappropriate speed, with cyclists and pedestrians being particularly susceptible. Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) […]

Finland drops “cars for kids” plan

Finland drops “cars for kids” plan

The entry-into-force of a new law in Finland to permit children as young as 15 to drive regular cars fitted with speed limiters has been withdrawn following drawn-out discussions with the European Commission about the legal and road safety implications of the scheme. The proposals, put forward two years ago by the Finnish government, would have allowed children to drive cars up to 1500 kg at speeds of up to 60 km/h and with only an AM category license – normally reserved for mopeds […]

EU won’t delay vehicle safety regulation

EU won’t delay vehicle safety regulation

The European Commission will not give carmakers extra time to comply with planned safety or environmental legislation, according to a news report.  “The Commission will not propose to postpone the entry into force of any new pollutant emissions or safety legislation,” Johannes Bahrke, a Commission spokesperson was reported as saying by Politico Pro – a subscription EU policy news service.    The statement followed a public letter sent by the carmaker lobby group ACEA in June calling for a six-month delay to several pieces of […]

New Euro NCAP tests will look at impact on occupants of other vehicles

New Euro NCAP tests will look at impact on occupants of other vehicles

The consumer vehicle safety rating organisation Euro NCAP has announced major changes to its testing process.  A significant difference in the new 2020 testing regime is the implementation of a new “moving barrier to moving car” frontal crash test. This new test not only evaluates the protection of occupants inside the car being tested, but also assesses how a car’s front-end structure contributes to injuries in the “collision partner” i.e. the other vehicle involved.  This could be important, for example, in judging the safety […]

1 in 12 plays games behind the wheel – SWOV study on distraction

1 in 12 plays games behind the wheel – SWOV study on distraction

A new survey for SWOV, the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research, has shown that drivers are increasingly playing games while driving: 8.2 percent admitted to sometimes playing games while driving in 2019, up from 3 percent in a 2017 survey.   70 percent of drivers admitted to using their phone in some way while driving, for example to use navigation or music software. The survey also looked at mobile phone use by cyclists, finding that young people are more likely to use their device […]

New study offers insights into most effective ISA systems

New study offers insights into most effective ISA systems

A new study led by Professor Oliver Carsten at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, looks at the most effective and user-friendly human machine interface (HMI) options for Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA). ISA systems will be required on all new cars, vans, lorries and buses sold in the EU from 2022, as part of an array of mandatory new vehicle safety technologies included in the updated EU General Safety Regulation, agreed last year. The updated law defines ISA as “a system to […]

COVID-19: Concerns over suspension of EU road safety laws amid lock-down

COVID-19: Concerns over suspension of EU road safety laws amid lock-down

Several EU Member States have formally notified the European Commission of temporary suspensions to the application of a number of EU road safety laws. Several countries are allowing longer driving times for lorry drivers, to enable deliveries of essential products such as medical equipment. With driver and vehicle testing centres forced to shut their doors, many countries have also extended the validity of driving licenses, certificates of professional competence and vehicle technical inspection certificates. While ETSC recognises the unique circumstances of the current lockdowns, […]

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment systems weaken reactions more than alcohol and cannabis

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment systems weaken reactions more than alcohol and cannabis

A new study by the UK’s transport research laboratory (TRL) shows that the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems that display smartphone apps on in-car displays impair reaction times behind the wheel more than alcohol and cannabis use. The study found that reaction times at motorway speeds increased average stopping distances to between four and five car lengths. The study also found that drivers took their eyes off the road for as long as 16 seconds while driving (equivalent to a distance of more than 500 […]

Collisions involving “Autopilot”-style driver assistance systems – ETSC welcomes publication of Dutch Safety Board investigation

Collisions involving “Autopilot”-style driver assistance systems – ETSC welcomes publication of Dutch Safety Board investigation

ETSC has welcomed a new report by the Dutch Safety Board that warns of multiple safety risks posed by advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as Tesla Autopilot. The conclusion of a two-year long investigation which encompassed multiple real-world crash investigations, the report raises a number of questions about the safety of ADAS systems, notably those that combine features such as automated cruise control with lane keeping and automated braking. Among the issues raised by the report are: – human factor problems such as […]

EU Member States rubber-stamp new vehicle safety requirements

EU Member States rubber-stamp new vehicle safety requirements

New minimum vehicle and pedestrian safety standards have been formally approved by EU Member States following a political agreement reached with the European Parliament in March. The legislation was formally signed by representatives of the European Council and Parliament at a ceremony on 27 November. New cars, vans, lorries and buses sold in Europe will be fitted as standard with a range of new vehicle safety features, starting in 2022, according to the updated “General Safety Regulation” requirements. After years of research, advocacy and […]

“Inadequate safety culture” contributed to fatal Uber automated test vehicle crash

“Inadequate safety culture” contributed to fatal Uber automated test vehicle crash

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called on the US federal government to create a review process before allowing automated test vehicles to operate on public roads, based upon the agency’s investigation of a fatal collision between an Uber automated test vehicle and a pedestrian. During a board meeting held to determine the probable cause of the Arizona crash on 18 March 2018, the NTSB said Uber’s “inadequate safety culture” contributed to the fatal collision between an Uber automated test vehicle and […]

Finnish “cars for kids” plans postponed following European Commission warnings

Finnish “cars for kids” plans postponed following European Commission warnings

The entry-into-force of a new law in Finland to permit children as young as 15 to drive regular cars fitted with speed limiters has been postponed following an intervention by the European Commission. The proposals, put forward last year by the government, would have allowed children to drive cars up to 1500kg at speeds of up to 60 km/h and with only an AM category license – normally reserved for mopeds and light quadricycles.  The original legal proposal set a speed limit of 45 […]

New e-mobility vehicles need independent checks says Dutch Safety Board

New e-mobility vehicles need independent checks says Dutch Safety Board

A review by the Dutch Safety Board of the procedures that led to approval of the Stint electric child cart for use on Dutch roads, says that “safety was made subordinate to the desire for innovation in road transport.” Four children died when the electrically-assisted cart that they were travelling in collided with a train at a railway crossing in September last year.  The exact causes of the collision have not been published so far, but independent investigations carried out both before and after […]

Driver confusion over different implementations of driver assistance systems needs addressing

Driver confusion over different implementations of driver assistance systems needs addressing

The lack of full standardisation of vehicle controls and the driver interface with driver assistance systems means there is often a ‘human factors’ deficit in which drivers are forced to use systems they do not necessarily fully understand, according to a new report for PACTS, ETSC’s UK founder member. The onset of more vehicle automation may make this worse and urgent action to stop this from happening is needed, according to the authors, Shaun Helman of TRL and Professor Oliver Carsten of the University […]

Calls for city SUV ban after four pedestrians die in a single collision

Calls for city SUV ban after four pedestrians die in a single collision

There have been calls in Germany for SUVs to be banned from city centres, following a collision involving a Porsche Macan that was travelling at excessive speed before mounting a pavement and killing four people waiting at a crossing. The causes of the collision are unknown, and are subject to an ongoing police investigation, though media speculation has centred on the possibility of the driver experiencing an epileptic seizure. While the vehicle in question may have been out of control, a number of observers […]

Automation could reduce collisions by 22% by 2040 say UK researchers

Automation could reduce collisions by 22% by 2040 say UK researchers

Scientists at the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory TRL estimate that the expected mix of automated and non-automated vehicles on the roads by 2040 could lead to 22% fewer collisions than today. The estimation is considerably lower than earlier headline-grabbing reports such as a KPMG analysis published in 2015 that predicted an 80% reduction.  The figure is also lower than the estimated 30% collision reduction benefits of fleet wide fitment of Intelligent Speed Assistance on non-automated vehicles. The KPMG report, and others, have referred back […]

New concerns about over-reliance on driver assistance systems

New concerns about over-reliance on driver assistance systems

Concerns have been raised again about over-reliance on “Level 2” driver assistance systems following the publication of an official US report into a crash involving a Tesla vehicle in “autopilot” mode. The National Transport Safety Board, in its latest report into a crash involving a Tesla, found that the “autopilot” system’s design, which enabled the driver to disengage from the driving task, contributed to the crash. Driver inattention and use of the system in a way which was “inconsistent with guidance and warnings from […]

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