New Braking System Will Save Many Lives

Monday, 16. June 2014

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Many years ago, when my namesake was racing cars I watched a demonstration by one of the F1 drivers showing how to avoid a skid by rapidly tapping the brake pedal. The driver applied and released the brakes in quick succession which gave greater control as the tyres moved round increasing the grip and avoiding a skid.

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It is the principal that developed into what has now been used for many years called ABS. Thousands of lives have been saved as a result of the fitting of ABS to all cars but now Thatcham have called for the latest brake development to be added to ABS and ESP as standard requirements on all new cars.

The new system known as Autonomous Electronic Braking (AEB) is already available or fitted to 23% of all new cars but Thatcham feels that more should be done by the Government to encourage the fitting of this technology by offering a £500 incentive to drivers that have it fitted.

Thatcham claims that the device would save 1,220 lives over 10 years and reduce casualties by 136,000. So what is AEB? It detects vehicles in front and applies the brakes in an emergency in time to prevent a front to end accident. In the more sophisticated systems the ‘radar’ can detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as solid vehicles.

At the moment if the system is fitted to a company car this will increase the driver’s benefit in kind tax and class 1A National Insurance Contributions, this is wrong according to Thatcham as the device is as much for the benefit of those outside the vehicle as inside.

Thatcham have shown that with AEB third party injury claims drop by 18%, whilst studies in the USA have put the reduction at 26%. Amazingly in Switzerland and Sweden front to rear crashes would drop by 31% and 48% respectively.

Whilst I have seen various claims relating to the benefits of AEB it is clear that this technology, if fitted, could save lives so I’m behind Thatcham and hope that they can convince the Government to do something to encourage the fitting of this life saving technology.

It might also help to prevent some of the crash for cash insurance claims so maybe the insurance companies should contribute something. Just a thought!

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