Managers looking to introduce the safest vehicles into their fleets will benefit from new guidance published by the Global Fleet Champions campaign.
Global Fleet Champions’ new report urges all organisations that employ people who drive for work to make safety their primary consideration and introduce the latest life-saving vehicle technologies into their fleets.
The report guides fleet managers through choosing new vehicles with active safety systems that can help prevent crashes from occurring and reduce the risk of death or serious injury if a crash does occur. The report explains the benefits of the main technologies available and outlines minimum safety standards to be followed.
The new guidance comes as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved new vehicle safety standards that experts believe could save 25,000 lives in 15 years.
Ross Moorlock, business development director at road safety charity Brake, said: “Active safety systems can save lives, but our recent research suggests their potential benefits are not yet being fully realised.
“These technologies offer significant safety benefits when fitted into fleet vehicles, and their effectiveness increases when multiple systems are used together. The more active safety systems fitted within a vehicle, the safer it has the potential to be.
“We hope fleet operators around the world will find this guidance useful and consider using it to improve the safety of their vehicles.”
Active safety systems are in-vehicle technologies that detect road risk and help prevent vehicles being involved in crashes, or mitigate the severity of a crash if it is unavoidable.
Examples include intelligent speed assistance (ISA), which helps drivers comply with speed limits, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB), which detects the possibility of a crash and automatically applies the vehicle’s brakes.
Research by the European Commission shows mandatory adoption of ISA in all heavy goods vehicles and certain light vehicles could reduce road crashes by 30% and road deaths by a fifth.
Global Fleet Champions’ guidance features expert advice from key players in road safety, to help fleet managers choose the safest vehicles and share best practice with each other.
Alix Edwards, vehicle safety and technology consultant at TRL, recommends fleet managers make sure all new vehicles are fitted with AEB as a bare minimum but consider other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as well.
Niall McNally, managing director of FLO-Concepts, also suggests including minimum standards for active safety systems in road safety strategies, and using training programmes to make sure drivers understand the systems in place.
MEPs from the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection have voted through a package of safety measures that could be applied to all new vehicle models within three years.
The measures include AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, overridable ISA, distraction recognition technology, emergency stop signals, and lane keep assist, as well as a new direct vision standard for lorries and buses to enable drivers to have a better view of other road users around their vehicle.
The European Parliament will now enter negotiations with Member States and the European Commission on how the measures will be implemented at national levels.
A recent report by Brake studying driver attitudes towards advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) found that nine in 10 UK drivers want car safety standards post-Brexit to remain as high as those across the EU.
The study, based on a survey of more than 2,000 UK drivers, also showed that public awareness of the benefits of ADAS is relatively low, with just 12% of drivers ranking safety features as their top priority when buying a new car.