The widespread use of new automatic braking technologies could help make pile-ups like the one on the Isle of Sheppey a thing of the past, experts say.
Last week’s major road accident on the fogbound bridge in Kent involved 130 vehicles, leaving several people seriously injured and dozens more with minor injuries.
But experts at Thatcham Research believe the impact of such road accidents could be lessened or avoided altogether through the widespread use of the new systems.
Research for insurers
Thatcham has been researching and testing Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems for car insurers for three years.
Several major car manufacturers already provide the systems in their vehicles and UK insurers offer favourable insurance groupings for vehicles where these are fitted as standard. Meanwhile, the Thatcham test is to be included in international safety body Euro NCAP’s overall test of vehicle safety standards next year.
Thatcham’s chief executive, Peter Shaw, said: “Our thoughts go out to all those injured or traumatised by this terrible crash.
“We know all too well the effects of such collisions and ultimately, it is the aim of all those in the insurance and vehicle design sectors to make death or injury on the roads a thing of the past.
“In recent years great strides have been made by vehicle manufacturers in making stronger, safer cars.”
He added: “The evidence from our testing is undeniable and combined with a growing body of real world research and evidence we firmly believe that AEB and other ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) have a critical role to play in avoiding both common low-speed shunts that can cause injuries such as whiplash and mitigating some of the horrendous injuries and fatalities that we see as result of higher speed pile-ups.”
Shaw said about a fifth of new cars in the UK have an AEB system available, adding that if the current rate of development continued multiple-vehicle accidents “could be history” by 2030.
Source: Thatcham Research