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Rising traffic accident rates raise call for more car safety systems

John Day

John Day

Posted Dec 6, 2012
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Does anyone know why, after decades of decreasing numbers of road traffic accidents in developed countries, accident rates are climbing again in the U.S. and Europe? And what to do about it?

In the U.K., there were 2.8 percent more fatal accidents in 2011 than in 2010. In Germany for the same period, accidents increased by 9.9 percent. In the U.S, there were 9.0 percent more fatal accidents during the first half of 2012 compared to 2011.

IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., reports mounting pressure on vehicle manufacturers from governments, safety organizations and other groups to fit advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as standard.

For example, in July Euro NCAP announced that a stricter star-rating would take effect from model year 2014. A vehicle model will only be awarded points if a particular ADAS is being fitted as standard, ensuring ADAS on a guaranteed percentage of a vehicle model. Currently, vehicle manufacturers only need to provide estimated ADAS sales forecasts to “prove” they fulfill the requirements, but in some cases this has led to overly optimistic sales forecasts and lower fitment rates than required for Euro NCAP’s points system.

IMS Research forecasts significant increases in shipments of ADAS, particularly in North America and Europe, where safety organizations like Euro NCAP exert a very strong influence on what is being fitted on vehicles. Helena Perslow, IMS Research senior analyst says, “Traditionally, safety systems that border on being convenience system, such as park/reverse assist systems have sold the best as it is easy for consumers to understand and appreciate them. However, with more forceful influence from safety organizations such as Euro NCAP we will see preventive systems like forward collision warning being fitted to a much greater extent.”

Perslow concludes: “The new ratings will push vehicle manufactures to offer ADAS as standard, increasing its availability. The hope is that greater prevalence of driver aids will reduce the number of traffic accidents and save lives.”

Euro NCAP, IHS Inc., Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), IMS Research

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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