19 April 2012
Lorry safety call from engineers
Fleet managers could need to install new safety kit on lorries before 2015 if the recommendations of a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) are adopted.
Collision-avoidance technology, 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, says the report entitled 'Intelligent Transport Intelligent Society'.
It 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 GPS.
Philippa Oldham, head of transport and manufacturing at the IMechE, 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 30 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."
HGVs make up 5% of the traffic on Britain's roads yet cause 20% of all fatal accidents involving cyclists.
One example of a collision avoidance technology is LATERAL SAFE which is being developed by the European Council for Automotive Research & Development (EUCAR). This system uses sensors to warn drivers of obstacles and accident risks, such as cyclists, to the rear or side of the vehicle.
Electronic safety systems like the European project eCall, which automatically alert emergency services in the case of a serious car accident, have the potential to cut road fatalities by as much as 10%.
The report also looks at other safety technology, including a vibrating steering wheel which notifies drivers of possible collisions, lane departures or drowsiness.
For a copy of the IMechE's report, click on the link below.
Institution of Mechanical Engineers
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