Three life-saving questions every new car buyer must ask

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 05 May 2016


At the upcoming London Motor Show, four major automotive names will join forces as part of the Global NCAP #StopTheCrash partnership to ensure that consumers considering buying a new car know the life-saving questions they must ask their dealer before making their choice, namely:

1. What Euro NCAP test rating does the car have?
2. Is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) fitted to this car - and is it standard?
3. What else should I do to maximise the safety protection offered by this car?

By providing visitors to the show with these three key questions the partnership, consisting of Thatcham Research, Bosch, Continental and ZF TRW, hopes to reduce the annual UK toll of 100,000 rear end crashes and to make certain that consumers ensure the highest level of safety on their next car.

The evidence in favour of AEB is unequivocal. A report released by Euro NCAP in 2015 found that ABS was responsible for a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes. Despite these statistics – and the fact that vehicle manufacturers have made good progress in making the technology available – AEB is currently only standard fit on 17% of new cars currently on sale in the UK.

David Ward, secretary-general of Global NCAP, said: “Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard should be the number one priority for anyone choosing a new car. The technology is already available in one form or another from almost every car manufacturer and in the absence of legislation to make it mandatory, we are encouraging consumers to use their power of choice to ensure that every new car coming on to the road has this life-saving feature fitted.”

Demonstrations showing the safety advantage provided by Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) will run throughout the show and visitors to the #StopTheCrash stand will be able to check which new cars have AEB as standard using an online resource that is hosted on the Thatcham Research website.

Tyres – the only point of contact between vehicles and the road

Tyre safety will also be highlighted, with representatives from Continental on hand to demonstrate the effect that low tread depth can have. The UK legal limit for tread depth is 1.6mm, yet tests show tyres only perform at 55% efficiency with this amount of wear.

Continental recommends replacing tyres when tread depth reaches 3mm as a responsible compromise between safety, economics and driver confidence, and is focused on educating drivers on the reasons why this is important: research indicates that 40% of drivers have never checked the tread of their tyres, choosing instead to wait for a service, while 20% admit that they do not even know how to carry out a tyre check.

“Research shows that three quarters of all collisions occur at speeds under 20mph/ 32kph. Even the most basic AEB system in conjunction with sensible tyre safety could prevent the vast majority of these incidents,” commented Ward.

Helping consumers understand safety

A recent survey by What Car? UK indicated that drivers are more likely to pay extra for satellite navigation and digital radio than they are to invest in safety features, a situation that #StopTheCrash believes has to change as a part of the move towards higher standards of road safety.

“Less than half of consumers are ticking the option box on safety features, which means a significant opportunity to save lives is being missed,” said Ward. “While the simplest way to increase uptake of safety technologies such as AEB is to make them standard on all new cars, better and more widely available information about how they work and the benefits they provide is the key to changing drivers’ attitudes and we believe that vehicle manufacturers and automotive retailers have a vital shared role to play in this respect.”

Yesterday, Autocar Professional also kicked off the Road Safety Week with its webinar on ‘Towards A Safer India’, the second in its series. The event, which saw a galaxy of top-notch industry speakers, arrived at a consensus that India needs to move fast on the safety front if lives are to be saved.

Also read: Global NCAP tests Indian cars again, results on May 17