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Oldham: Technology can make substantial safety improvements says the Institute of Mechanical Engineers



Robin Roberts

Collision-avoidance technologies, which could help eliminate cyclist and pedestrian deaths caused by driver ‘blind-spots’, should be made mandatory for all UK buses and lorries by 2015, according to a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The ‘Intelligent Transport Intelligent Society’ report also calls for automated emergency response systems to be integrated into all new road vehicles within the next two years.

These systems automatically alert emergency services in case of an accident – even if a driver is unconscious – as well as providing the exact location of the accident using Global Positioning Systems.

Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

“The alarming rise in cyclist deaths on British roads needs to be addressed urgently. Cyclist deaths have risen by 7% in the past year, with about eight cyclists being killed or seriously injured daily on British roads.

“A number of these deaths could be prevented if technology to prevent driver ‘blind spots’ were made mandatory for all large vehicles.

“New intelligent transport technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives. Cyclists, pedestrians and other road users could all benefit but, just as with seatbelts thirty years ago, we need policymakers to work with the automotive industry to make them mandatory.

”By putting the UK at the forefront of intelligent transport technology we can also build an industry that is set to redefine the car in the next few decades, tapping into a market that will be worth about £40 billion by 2020.”

PSA Peugeot Citroen, VW Group, Volvo and Ford have all introduced active systems to warn of unintended lane deviation and apply brakes in urban situations immediately before a potential impact.

Such systems are being incorporated into vehicle assessment programmes and impact on insurance rates and which show up in pence per mile running costs. The cost of business car insurance is ultimately affected by the fitting of such warning devices.


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