Thousands of lives could be saved if there were government incentives for drivers buying cars with anti-crash technology, a motor research centre says.
Initial UK data shows cars equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) have 18 per cent fewer third-party injury claims, said Thatcham Research, the insurance industry’s motor research centre.
Thatcham’s chief executive Peter Shaw called for support for his company’s Stop the Crash campaign which plans to ask the Treasury to introduce and fund a 500 pounds incentive for those choosing to buy new cars with AEB fitted.
Mr Shaw said such a scheme would see 100 per cent of the British new car fleet fitted with AEB by 2025, which could avoid more than 17,000 deaths and serious injuries on UK roads in a decade from 2015.
Thatcham said 90 per cent of road crashes were due to human error or distraction, with the total cost of the average injury crash being 90,000 pounds.
Also, 550,000 whiplash claims annually in Britain are costing 2 billion pounds, adding 90 pounds to the average car insurance premium.
Thatcham also said 23 per cent of new cars on sale have AEB as optional or standard fit and fewer than 10 cars sold have AEB specified.
Mr Shaw said: “Vehicle technology has been a major factor in cutting UK road deaths from 7000-plus in the 1970s to 1754 in 2012.
“A responsible driver who pays extra to reduce the potential impact of their car should benefit from a helping hand from the government.”
AA president Edmund King said: “Every now and then a new safety technology comes along that is worthy of widespread uptake as it will save lives.
“We have seen this with seatbelts, airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control and now we have the chance to embrace AEB.
“Often such technologies are expensive at first and therefore only taken up by safety pioneers or those who can afford top end cars.
“We need to encourage manufacturers to make AEB available further down their model ranges and we need to encourage car buyers, including fleet buyers, to specify AEB when choosing new cars.
“As the government has a good record of giving incentives to encourage the uptake of greener cars, we would like to see such incentives expanded to safer cars.”