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Technology: Government Set To Launch Innovative Road Safety Measures

April 4, 2014

The UK is lucky enough to have some of the safest roads in the world, with some of the lowest road accident figures in Europe. However, that’s not to say that accidents don’t happen – there’s always more to be done to improve road safety than is feasible, for both drivers and pedestrians. Automakers, governing bodies and charities have invested a lot of time and money into the development of new, innovative road safety features. Advancements in technology are being put to good use, with many new cars on the road today featuring high-tech safety measures. For more information on road safety, visit Think!

Think road safety

The Stats
In 2012, there were 196,000 road casualties in the UK – 4% lower than the previous year. Of this number, 1,754 resulted in fatalities, which is an 8% decrease on 2011’s statistic. Although it’s clear our roads are getting safer, there’s still a large number of serious accidents on our roads every year. In 2012, on average, 4.8 people were killed each day on Britain’s roads.

Cars Are Getting Too Quiet
Major UK charity, Guide Dogs For The Blind – supporting those with visual impairments – have called for electric and hybrid cars to be fitted with devices to make them louder. As manufacturers have been producing ever quieter cars, it has presented a unique road safety problem.

People with visual impairments rely on hearing to assess when cars are approaching, allowing them to safely walk around on a street. Ultra-quiet cars also present a problem for the non-visually impaired, as people often rely on engine and road noise to hear unseen cars approaching at speed or around blind corners.

The request has been approved by the government and new rules will specifically apply to the biggest culprits – electric and hybrid cars. When these cars are running on electric power, they’re virtually silent – and any sound they do produce is drowned out by ambient noise. The new law is expected to be approved by the European Council and is set to take effect in 2019. New electric vehicles will be required by law to be audible and produce similar sounds to their petrol powered counterparts. This is welcome news to those suffering from visual impairments who may otherwise be caught out by these ultra-quiet vehicles.

There have been concerns from the opposition that noise pollution needs to be reduced and quieter cars are actually a step forward. The government has responded by backing both parties and has agreed to tighten noise emission standards. It’s expected that there will be a minimum and maximum noise emission cap introduced.

Investment In Auto Braking Technology
Autonomous emergency braking technology or ‘auto braking’ as it’s more commonly known is a relatively new breakthrough taking the auto industry by storm. The technology uses sensors in the front of the car to detect objects including pedestrians or other cars.

Implementation of auto braking systems varies between manufacturers – the technology usually employs radar, video, infrared or ultrasonic sensors to detect the distance between the car and the obstruction. If the driver fails to respond to the hazard, emergency braking is automatically applied. Braking distance is calculated by an onboard computer, which uses speed and distance to calculate at which point the emergency braking system should engage.

Auto braking

At present, auto braking is available as an option across many makes and models of car. However, the high price of this additional extra is proving prohibitive to its popularity. Insurance bodies have called for a government grant to be offered to incentivise buyers to purchase cars featuring auto braking. According to research, if the technology was more widely implemented, it’d have the potential to save 1,200 lives and reduce number of road traffic accidents by 135,000 over the next 10 years.

At the Car Loan Warehouse, we’d go with the Ford Fiesta. The optional driver assistance pack is priced at £250 and includes Ford’s auto brake technology – called ‘active city stop’ – as well as rear parking sensors and electric folding mirrors. We recommend the award winning Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0L Ecoboost model, available with active city stop from £13,895.

At the Car Loan Warehouse, we’re experts in financing and work with dealers and lenders to find you the very best deal – regardless of your credit score. Why not use our free finance calculator to see how much you could save?

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.