Don’t weaken planned vehicle safety measures – say leading academics and safety experts.

Don’t weaken planned vehicle safety measures – say leading academics and safety experts.

Leading road danger reduction and safety organisations and academics have written to key committees of the European Parliament and to national delegates asking them not to weaken EU Commission proposals to improve vehicle safety, including designs to remove blind spots in lorries.

 The letter is a response to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA)’s attempts to weaken the European Commission’s proposals on new vehicle safety measures.

The full letter is here

It includes the following  paragraph about improving direct vision:

"Direct Vision: better driver reaction times

The Commission proposal includes direct vision requirements for trucks and buses, which would mean automotive companies sell vehicles where the driver can see more of the road space around their vehicle. “Direct vision” is the term given to what drivers can see directly through the windows of their vehicle. This is different to “indirect vision”, which is what a driver sees on a monitor or in a mirror. ACEA claims that a sensor system that detects cyclists or pedestrians is more effective. Seeing something “directly” though has been proven to increase reaction speeds by 0.7 seconds. In practice, improving reaction speeds by 0.7 seconds means a reduction of 5 meters in stopping distance if a vehicle is traveling at 25 km/h. 5 meters of additional travel before stopping can be the difference between life and death.

Furthermore, surveys have shown that cyclists and pedestrians feel a greater sense of safety when they can make eye contact with truck drivers. This is a more effective safety solution than only having sensors, as sensors can be ignored or require time to identify the source of the alert. Sensors have a key role in improving truck safety, most importantly in areas of the truck where direct vision is not possible."

 Singnatories to the letter are: Atontonio Avenoso, Executive Director, European Transport Safety Council, David Ward, President and CEO, Towards Zero Foundation, Prof. Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Stephen Russell, Secretary General,ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardization, Paolo Cestra, President, TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network, Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General,European Cyclists’ Federation,  William Todts, Executive Director, Transport & Environment,  Jeannot Mersch, President, FEVR, European Federation of Road Traffic Victims,  Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General,POLIS, Cities and Regions for Transport Innovation,  Geert van Waeg, President, International Federation of Pedestrians,  Prof. Pete Thomas, Loughborough University