AEB could prevent thousands of casualties a year

AEB as standard could prevent 122,860 road traffic casualties

Whether it’s splurging on some high-spec trims, or opting for the luxury of an in-car satellite navigation, those added extras make buying a new car a more personalised experience. But what is the true cost of opting out of safety add-ons?

A group of leading road safety campaigners have joined up in their latest efforts to improve safety on the UK’s roads.

Research by this newly-formed coalition suggests that more than 120,000 road causalities could be avoided if Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) was fitted as standard in all new cars.

The team is led by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, which is working with the RAC, British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVRLA) and Thatcham Research on this latest campaign.

Astounding statistics

We’ve all been distracted behind the wheel at times, or slow to react, needing to slam on the brakes.

The dangerous truth is, every driver, no matter how competent, will experience a near-miss in their lifetime as a motorist, whether through their own fault or not.

Automatic braking anticipates potential collisions and can stop them from happening, even when drivers aren’t quick enough to react.

AEB technology detects oncoming congestion, pedestrians, or even large animals, and can halt the vehicle to prevent accidents.

Figures for a 10-year period show 122,860 casualties of road traffic incidents could be avoided if manufacturers fitted the life-saving feature without buyers having to opt in by choice.

Sarah Sillars, CEO of IAM Roadsmart, said: “Road safety is a shared responsibility and if individuals and fleets ensure their new cars are fitted with AEB we can all make a contribution to safer roads for vulnerable users now.”

The cost of fitting AEB can be as little as £200, although many manufacturers charge much more and the average cost of the technology is around £1,300.

“Safety should be a deal-breaker, not a nice thing to have,” says Peter Shaw, CEO at Thatcham Research.

‘Do your bit’

From 2020, AEB will start being fitted as part of a vehicle’s standard safety pack, but the safety coalition is urging those shopping for a new ride to opt in to the potentially life-saving extra beforehand.

David Bizley, a Chief Engineer at RAC, says: “By choosing vehicles fitted with pedestrian and cyclist sensing AEB and rated as five stars for safety by EuroNCAP, drivers can be confident that they’re doing their bit to keep our roads among the safest in the world.”

Is safety top of your list of priorities? Check out our top 10 safest cars for 2017.

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