Vehicle safety

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 […]

Setback for quick adoption of EU connected vehicle and infrastructure standard

Setback for quick adoption of EU connected vehicle and infrastructure standard

EU Member States have formally rejected a European Commission proposal on specifications for the first wave of C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) in the EU following a dispute about technology neutrality. The specifications, which should lead to warning messages such as temporary speed limits or collisions on the road ahead beamed directly into vehicles, were set to be built on a type of wifi technology, which had already been developed by several carmakers and technology providers. But several EU Member States and various actors […]

Briefing: Independence in Investigation of Transport Accidents

Briefing: Independence in Investigation of Transport Accidents

Independent transport accident investigations derive their value and significance to society from the fact that they are the only kind of investigation that set themselves the sole task of systematically establishing precisely the truth and the facts of what has taken place with the aim of learning to improve safety and helping to prevent recurrences. In doing so, they can also help to assure society that the occurrence of such events is being addressed. In practice, however, there are many differences in how investigations […]

27% of killed UK car occupants were not wearing a seatbelt

27% of killed UK car occupants were not wearing a seatbelt

A new report from PACTS, ETSC’s UK member, has found that more than a quarter of people who died in cars in 2017, were not wearing a seatbelt. “Seat Belts: The Forgotten Road Safety Priority” shows that despite wearing rates of 98.6% for British car drivers, 27% of those who died in cars on the roads in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt. This amounts to more than 200 deaths; an additional 1,000 people were seriously injured. Seatbelt non-wearing has not received the focus […]

New connected vehicle rules could boost road safety

New connected vehicle rules could boost road safety

The European Commission has agreed on the first wave of requirements for electronic communications both between road infrastructure and vehicles, as well as between vehicles.  ETSC has warmly welcomed the inclusion of safety-enhancing features in the list of priority services for so-called Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) set out in the legal text, notably the ‘dynamic speed limit information’ service. This technology will enable, for example, variable speed limit information signs to communicate directly to compatible vehicles.  This could further enhance the accuracy of […]

European Parliament backs new vehicle safety standards

European Parliament backs new vehicle safety standards

The European Parliament has given the green light to new minimum EU vehicle safety requirements that will come into force from 2022.  The vote by the full parliament, at its last session of this mandate, follows a provisional deal reached by the EU institutions last month. According to the final deal on the legislation, new cars, vans, lorries and buses sold in Europe will be fitted as standard with a range of new vehicle safety features such as Automated Emergency Braking which can detect […]

Seatbelt reminders in every seating position from September

Seatbelt reminders in every seating position from September

The EU has formally agreed updated UNECE regulations on seatbelts that will require seatbelt reminder systems in all front and rear seats on new cars from September 2019. Existing EU vehicle safety rules agreed in 2009 only require seatbelt reminder systems on the driver’s seat.  The updated requirements also include the front and rear passenger seats. In the front seats, the systems will need to be able to detect a passenger sitting and make an audible warning at the start of the journey if the belt is not […]

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