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Storm Brendan: How to drive safely in strong winds

How to drive safely in strong winds

Storm Brendan is battering Britain with wind speeds of up to 60mph in the worst-affected areas. Rain and high winds are predicted for most of the country, which is likely to cause havoc for many.

No-one likes driving in a nasty storm. Heavy winds and rain are enough to encourage you to stay indoors. So what precautions can you take to make things a little easier when driving in a storm?

Of course, it makes sense to stay at home or to delay your journey if a storm is forecast. GEM Motoring Assist says alternatives should be considered by everyone, when conditions warrant it.

Driving in a storm

“We want all road users to be aware of how risk increases when weather conditions become more challenging,” said GEM road safety officer Neil Worth.

“So, if your journey is not necessary, then consider delaying it, or using public transport if available.”

Stay safe in strong windsDriving in a storm

So you’re on the road, and it’s getting rough. What can you do to be as safe as possible when driving in these conditions?

  • Slow down: the faster you drive, the more difficult it becomes to maintain control in crosswinds. Take particular care if you’re driving a high-sided vehicle or towing a trailer or caravan
  • Hold tight: keep both hands on the wheel and be prepared for sudden gusts.
  • Give cyclists and motorcyclists extra room when overtaking.
  • Be prepared for stronger winds and sudden gusts when driving in exposed areas or over bridges.
  • Keep your distance, especially from high-sided vehicles and caravans.
  • Avoid towing a trailer, caravan or horsebox if possible.
  • Avoid using a roof box, as these can increase the car’s susceptibility to crosswinds.
  • Look out for debris in the road, especially after blind bends. Also look out for low-hanging branches, especially at night when they might not be picked up by your headlights.
  • Park away from trees, telephone lines, power lines and buildings.
  • Expect delays, speed restrictions and bridge closures. You might need to change your route, so leave extra time for your journey.
  • Listen to the weather forecast for updates. Remember, it’s often better to delay your journey if possible.
  • Keep an eye on traffic updates, either via local radio, social media or your sat-nav system.
  • With wind comes rain, quite often, so make sure your wipers, lights and tyres are up to the job.

‘Be prepared’ for windy conditions

VW damaged by tree after strong winds

“Strong wind can occur just about anywhere, but it can be more common in wide open spaces. Areas for concern also include bridges, exposed stretches of road and cuttings where roads pass through hilly areas. These locations can act as funnels for wind.

“Expect strong gusts, keep an eye on any large trucks or vehicles towing trailers near you, as their drivers may have difficulty staying in their lane. Be particularly careful around pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, who may all be affected by strong winds.

Driving in a storm

“Heavy rain makes driving hazardous. So please slow down and turn your lights on to ensure you can see more clearly, and so that other vehicles can see you. Do not rely on automatic headlights.

“Give other vehicles more space, and double the distance between you and the vehicle in front, so you have more time to react and stop safely if you need to.”

Click here for the latest UK weather warnings issued by the Met Office.

How to drive safely through flood water

How to drive safely through flood water

Three quarters of drivers (74 percent) would risk driving through flood water. That’s despite it being the leading cause of death in flooded areas. Indeed, 32 percent of flood-related deaths are in vehicles.

New research reveals that many drivers are oblivious to the risks associated with driving through flood water. With heavy rain expected over the Christmas period, this could spell trouble for many motorists.

Just 30cm of moving water is enough to float a car, but only one in four drivers (24 percent) would find an alternative route to avoid a flooded road. 

In November, three people were rescued from the roof of a car in Devon after fast-flowing water reached the windows of their vehicle. Meanwhile, a woman in Doncaster had to be rescued from a submerged car.

The survey carried out by the AA in partnership with the Environment Agency found that Leicester is the top place for flood-related breakdowns in the UK.

Watery Gate Lane played host to 88 flood-related callouts between 2014 and 2018. It tops the list of the top 10 places for breakdowns due to flood water.

LocationCallouts
Watery Gate Lane, Leicester88
Rufford Lane, Newark71
Houndsfield Lane, Birmingham49
Furnace Grange Road, Wolverhampton37
Riverside, Dartford35
Buttsbury, Essex32
Green Road, Birmingham30
Tanners Lane, Salisbury28
Riverside/The Embankment, Twickenham28
Hawkswood Lane, Gerrards Cross27

‘Never drive through flood water’

Never drive through flood water

Caroline Douglass, director of incident management and resilience at the Environment Agency, said: “It is concerning that so many drivers are willing to risk their own life and the lives of others by driving through flood water.

“Our message is clear: surface water flooding it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car. Never drive through flood water. Turn around and find another route.”

The AA’s Ben Sheridan added, “Don’t chance it if the road ahead is flooded – flood water can be deceptively deep and can hide other hazards in the road which can leave you stranded.

“Trying to drive through flood water puts you and your passengers at risk, but it can also cause damage to your car. It only takes an egg-cupful of water to wreck your engine and on many cars, the engine’s air intake is low down at the front.”

How to drive through SHALLOW flood water

Flood water in Worcestershire

The message is pretty clear: you should avoid driving through a flood. However, if you decide that the flood is shallow enough to drive through, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has the following advice:

  • Allow oncoming traffic to pass before driving through the flood water.
  • Drive along the highest part of the road (usually the centre), but look out for approaching drivers who may be doing the same thing.
  • Go slowly and keep to a steady speed.
  • Use first gear and keep revs high by slipping the clutch (keep it partly engaged).
  • Once you’ve made it through, test your brakes before resuming normal driving.

NEVER attempt to drive through fast-moving water such as a flooded bridge or a ford. Conditions can change rapidly, so you may be swept away. Equally, you don’t know if the flood water is hiding debris or a broken road.

MG in flood water

If your engine cuts out after driving through flood water, don’t attempt to restart it. Instead, call your breakdown provider and wait for help.

The AA lists these facts about flood water. They are worth considering before you attempt to drive through a flood.

  • Most drowning deaths happen within three metres of a safe point
  • Two-thirds of people who die in flood-related incidents are good swimmers
  • Just 15cm of fast-flowing water can knock you off your feet
  • If the speed of the water doubles, the force it exerts on you and your car goes up four times
  • Flood water can carry diseases

Listen to local traffic and weather reports, and use social media to receive an early warning of roads blocked by flood water. It’s better to plan ahead than it is to react to sudden changes in conditions.

Speed limits, roads and the law: what you need to know

Speed limits and the law

‘You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle.’ The government’s stance is pretty clear, and yet millions of motorists break the speed limit every day.

According to Department for Transport statistics, 46 percent of cars exceeded the speed limit on motorways in 2018, compared to 52 percent on 30mph and 10 percent on 60mph roads.

In the same year, the RAC Report on Motoring explored the reasons given for breaking the speed limit. Users were asked to select up to three reasons.

The top reason was ‘I drive according to the speed of other road users’. A case of following the crowd.

Interestingly, on roads with a 20mph restriction, 31 percent of motorists felt the speed limit was inappropriate.

Research shows that around 1,000 people are caught speeding every day, which is why Moneybarn has suggested laying out the law. By sticking to the following limits, you’ll avoid a run-in with the police or a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

National speed limits

VehicleBuilt-up areas (mph)Single carriageways (mph)Dual carriageways (mph)Motorways (mph)
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles30607070
Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when towing caravans or trailers30506060
Motorhomes or motor caravans (not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight)30607070
Motorhomes or motor caravans (more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight)30506070
Buses, coaches and minibuses (not more than 12 metres overall length)30506070
Buses, coaches and minibuses (more than 12 metres overall length)30506060
Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)30506070 (or 60 if articulated or towing a trailer)
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in England and Wales30506060
Goods vehicles (more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight) in Scotland30405060

Locally set speed limits

Local councils can set their own speed limits in certain areas. These will be clearly signed.

Examples include:

  • A 20mph zone near a school, in a built-up area, or in a pedestrianised zone
  • A 50mph limit on a road with a high record of accidents, or with sharp corners, roundabouts and hidden dips

20mph speed limit sign

Vehicle-specific speed limits

There are specific rules for vans, car-derived vans, dual-purpose vehicles and motorhomes.

Most vans have a lower speed limit than cars and must follow the limits for good vehicles of the same weight. Vehicles under two tonnes (loaded) may qualify as a car-derived van or dual-purpose vehicle. These vehicles have the same speed limits as cars.

Motorhomes and motor caravans are classed as goods vehicles if they carry products for exhibition and sale, are used as a workshop, or are used for storage.

Speeding penalties

30mph sign

The minimum penalty for breaking the speed limit is a £100 fine and three penalty points. Accumulating 12 or more points within a period of three years could lead to a disqualification.

Caught by a speed camera

Within 14 days, drivers will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a Section 172 notice. The Section 172 must be returned within 28 days, telling the police who was driving the car.

In return, drivers will be sent a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or a letter telling them to go to court.

Stopped by the police

Drivers will face one of three outcomes: a verbal warning, an FPN, or an order to go to court.

Getting a Fixed Penalty Notice

Drivers who receive an FPN can plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading guilty results in a £100 fine and three points on the driving licence, or the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course.

First-time offenders can avoid penalty points by taking a speed awareness course. Research suggests these courses are a more effective deterrent for speeders than fines or points.

Drivers who plead not guilty will be summoned to court. The risk of doing so is an increased fine and more penalty points.

Safety camera partnership van

The size of the fine depends on what the speed limit was and by how much it was exceeded. It’s usually a percentage of the driver’s weekly income, up to a maximum of £1,000 (or £2,500 if driving on a motorway).

Drivers could also be disqualified from driving or have their licence suspended.

Courts operate on a ‘band’ system based on the severity of the offence. The system can be viewed here, but the following table provides a summary of the likely points and disqualification period.

Speed limit (mph)Recorded speed (mph)Recorded speed (mph)Recorded speed (mph)
2041 and above31-4021-30
3051 and above41-5031-40
4066 and above56-6541-55
5076 and above66-7551-65
6091 and above81-9061-80
70101 and above91-10071-90
Sentencing rangeBand C fineBand B fineBand A fine
Points/disqualificationDisqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 pointsDisqualify 7 – 28
days OR 4 – 6 points
3 points

Statutory aggravating factors include:

  • Previous convictions, having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
  • Offence committed while on bail

Other aggravating factors:

  • Offence committed on licence or post-sentence supervision
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Driving LGV, HGV, PSV, etc
  • Towing a caravan or trailer
  • Carrying passengers or a heavy load
  • Driving for hire or reward
  • Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving over and above speed limit
  • Location, e.g. near school
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity

More information

Is that ‘new car smell’ killing you softly?

The dangers of the new car smell

Many of us love the smell of a new car’s interior. But have you ever stopped to consider what that smell actually is?

More importantly, does the ‘new car smell’ pose a risk to your health?

Worryingly, the answer to that question is ‘yes’, according to the emissions and efficiency specialists at Emissions Analytics.

The British firm argues that a car’s interior has the capacity to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over the life of the vehicle. The ‘new car smell‘ has ‘typically been ignored, partly because it has been difficulty to measure’, it says.

Until now. Thanks to recent advances in technology, it’s now possible to measure the effects of VOCs in a car’s interior over the lifetime of the vehicle. There are dozens of VOCs to consider, including:

  • Residual compounds from the manufacturing process and material treatment of different interior compounds and textiles
  • Adhesives and carrier solvents that will de-gas – as much as 2kg of adhesives can be found in a modern car
  • Degradation of cabin materials as a result of oxidation, ultraviolet light and heat

Acetaldehyde is a particular problem. Exposure can cause ‘flush reactions’, such as itchiness, blotchiness and a flushed complexion. Asian people possess less functional acetaldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme, which is responsible for breaking it down.

What’s in that ‘new car smell’?

New car smell

This is why cars sold in China, Japan and Korea are the subject of strict VOC regulations. Consider the substances outlined in the following table and you might not look at your car’s interior the same way again. The majority are regulated in Asian countries.

Analyte Symptoms
FormaldehydeRespiratory irritant and a contributory factor in asthma and cancer
AcetaldehydeFlush reaction (as outlined above)
AcroleinHighly toxic and severely irritating to the eyes, mucous membranes, respiratory tract, and skin
BenzeneKnown carcinogen
EthylbenzeneCan cause throat irritation and dizziness
XyleneCauses headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and nausea
StyreneCauses headaches
TolueneCommonly known as nail polish remover – can cause headaches and nausea
TetradecaneIrritating to the eyes, mucous membrane and upper respiratory tract

In partnership with Anatune, Emissions Analytics tested a nearly-new Hyundai i10. The car was tested every 15 minutes for 60 seconds over five hours on an early summer’s day.

There were two principle outcomes: a steady accumulations of ten VOCs as temperatures rose, and the unexpected dynamic of emissions during the final 15 minutes.

In particular, methanol and acetone rose from very low base points to more significant levels. While methanol is a common solvent and not directly regulated, it is toxic and could be an irritant.

Of even greater concern is the concentration of acetaldehyde, which rose to more than 10 TIMES the regulated limit in China and Japan.

‘Market failure’

Testing new car interior

Emissions Analytics is calling for more research: ‘From a vehicle testing perspective, the ability to detect and speciate different analytes in real time opens up the possibility for more extensive research of exposure and the potential for regulation to reduce detrimental health exposures.

‘It could also assist driver education in respect of ‘VOC build-up’ when a vehicle is parked in hot weather.’ 

The company is calling for regulations to reflect where there is ‘market failure’, and for greater consumer awareness. Whether or not you like the ‘new car smell’, it looks like we’re set to learn more about its effects on our health.

98 percent wouldn’t report a family member for drink-driving

reporting family member drink-driving

Most people wouldn’t report a family member for drink-driving. That’s according to a survey of nearly 30,000 British drivers.

Just two percent of motorists would call the police if the driver was a family member, meaning a shocking 98 percent would turn a blind eye. Conversely, 49 percent of those surveyed said they would call the police if the driver was a complete stranger.

The AA members who took part in the study said they’d prefer to hide the keys, call a taxi or offer a lift to the person considering driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Male drivers aged 17-24 are over-represented in drink-drive accidents. They’re also less likely to perceive drink-driving as risky or unacceptable.

Last month, the government launched a campaign aimed at encouraging young people to stop their friends from getting behind the wheel when drunk.

‘Socially unacceptable’

Drink driving accidents highest since 2010

Road safety minister Jesse Norman said: “Driving even while below the legal limit is becoming increasingly socially unacceptable, with more and more people choosing to turn down drinking any alcohol when they plan to drive. But even so, there are still some drivers who are willing to take the risk.

“Friends, colleagues and family members can positively influence those around them. So we are calling on them to stop potential drink drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking tragedy this Christmas.”

The legal limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg per 100ml, but there are calls to lower this to 50mg. This would bring the rest of the country in line with Scotland, where the limit has been lower for five years.

Drivers are encouraged to use the non-emergency 101 number to report dangerous driving to the police. However, stopping a drink-driver at source is a more effective approach, so hiding the keys is a recommended course of action.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “If you spot dangerous driving, it’s important that you report it – even if you think it’s an act that you shouldn’t get involved in, such as your boss driving home drunk from your company Christmas party.

“It’s a simple process and should only take a few minutes. Plus, you’ll be helping to keep the roads safe for everyone in the long-term.”

The penalties for being caught drink-driving are severe. Causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink carries up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine and a minimum two-year disqualification.

Tesla Model X a ‘stand-out performer’ in Euro NCAP safety tests

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

Euro NCAP has published its penultimate results of the year – and this one’s a biggie. The Tesla Model X, Porsche Taycan, and new Ford Kuga have faced Euro NCAP’s crash testing. 

Some good news for Tesla – the Model X has been described as ‘stand-out performer’. It’s safety assist score was a heady 94 percent, the same score that the Model 3 got earlier this year. The big Tesla also got 98 percent for adult occupant protection. That makes it a contender for Best in Class for 2019. 

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

It’s not the only strong-performing EV in this round, though. It’s joined by the Taycan, Porsche’s newly-minted thorn in the side for Tesla’s high-end EV monopoly. It scored five stars, too, though it’s individual percentages aren’t as impressive as the Tesla. It got 85 percent and 73 percent in adult occupant and safety assist respectively.

“The devil’s in the detail when you compare the Euro NCAP assessments of the Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan. Both are safe cars, but the Tesla Model X is the stand-out,” said Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research and Euro NCAP board member.

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

In the realms of more conventional cars, Skoda’s new Octavia, the new Renault Captur, Ford’s new Kuga, the facelift Audi Q7 and the new Subaru Forester all scored five stars. Peugeot’s 2008 just misses out on an unconditional five stars, given that safety packs need to be equipped.

The addition of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) helps keep some older cars up to date. The Ford Mondeo earns five stars as a result, while Volkswagen’s Sharan and its sister car, the Seat Alhambra, both hold a steady four-star score. Worryingly, however, the Sharan was penalised for its door detaching in a side pole test. This poses a risk of occupants being ejected in an accident.

The Jeep Renegade got a bad rap, too, still only having AEB as an option. It’s the only sub four-star score of 2019. Last year, the Wrangler got a pitiful one-star rating – one of the lowest ever seen.

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

“Well done to Tesla and the other five stars performers for not only bringing best in class performance in testing but also making safety systems accessible and standard across the European market,” said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary general.

“It is also good to see manufacturers – Ford and Volkswagen in this case – standardising AEB and keeping safety up-to-date even for older cars, to the benefit of their customers. It’s a pity that not everyone follows this example, and by prioritising looks over substance Jeep ended up at the bottom of the list of this year’s rated cars. The good news is that consumers have more choice than ever to find a safer alternative.”

Drivers should stop listening to Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud dangerous to drivers

Drivers should avoid listening to Girls Aloud or the Spice Girls if they want to stay safe this Christmas.

A recent study in America found that songs with more than 120 beats per minute (BPM) resulted in faster and more erratic driving. To stay safe, drivers should listen to music that mimics the human heartbeat.

Ideally, songs with 60 to 100 BPM.

Which is bad news for drivers with Girls Aloud and the Spice Girls on their playlist.

A finance company has analysed the UK Christmas number ones since 1952 to identify and safest and most dangerous songs to listen to while driving.

Sound of the Underground by Girls Aloud is deemed to be the most dangerous. The 2002 hit single has a BPM of 164 and an energy score of 0.85.

Spice Girls dangerous to drivers

But there’s bad news for fans of the Spice Girls, too.

Two of the songs in the top ten most dangerous Christmas number ones are credited to Sporty, Baby, Scary, Posh and Ginger: 2 Become 1 and Goodbye.

Tim Schwarz, head of marketing at Moneybarn, said: “Christmas is one of the busiest driving times of the year and wintry weather can make roads more dangerous.

“We all love feeling festive when ‘driving home for Christmas’, but make sure your song choices aren’t distracting you from the road”

The top 10 most dangerous Christmas number ones

1. Girls AloudSound of the Underground
2. LadBabyWe Built This City
3. Pet Shop BoysAlways on my Mind
4. The BeatlesDay Tripper
5. SladeMerry Xmas Everybody
6. Winifred AtwellLet’s Have Another Party
7. Spice Girls2 Become 1
8. Band Aid 20Do They Know it’s Christmas?
9. Spice GirlsGoodbye
10. Benny HillErnie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)

You’ll need to break into your parents’ playlist if want to make it home for Christmas in one piece. Five of the top ten safest tunes were released in the 1950s.

That said, looking through the list, your biggest challenge might be trying to stay awake behind the wheel.

Shayne Ward is dangerous to drivers

The top 10 safest Christmas number ones

1. Frankie LaneAnswer Me
2. Whitney HoustonI Will Always Love You
3. Al MartinoHere in my Heart
4. Dickie ValentineChristmas Alphabet
5. Harry BelafonteMary’s Boy Child
6. Alexandra BurkeHallelujah
7. Johnnie RayJust Walking in the Rain
8. Lewisham and Greenwich NHS ChoirA Bridge Over You
9. WingsMull of Kintyre
10. Shayne WardThat’s my Goal

Motorists warned about effects of cold and flu tablets

Motorists warned about the effects of cold and flu tablets

Motorists are being warned about the dangerous effects some medications can have on driving.

Even cold and flu treatments can cause drowsiness, reducing a driver’s ability to concentrate on driving. Not only is this dangerous, but drivers could be charged with a criminal offence.

It’s illegal in England, Scotland and Wales to drive with legal drugs in your body if it impairs your driving.

Over-the-counter medication is covered by the same drug-driving laws as illegal substances such as cocaine and cannabis, so drivers are advised to study the list of prescription medicines affected by the legislation (see below).

The police can stop drivers and demand a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they suspect drugs have been taken. If they deem a motorist to be unfit to drive, they’ll be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station.

‘Read the label’

Read the label

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “You may not be aware that your driving can be compromised by medicinal drugs. Therefore you could be breaking the law without realising.

“A conviction for drug driving carries a minimum one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison. You will have a criminal record that means you may have trouble getting a job or travelling overseas. Even once you are able to get your licence back, it will be endorsed for 11 years.

“So we cannot stress enough the importance of reading labels and seeking advice from healthcare professionals before driving. If you find that a specific remedy is likely to make you drowsy and impair your driving, then you must not drive after taking it. If you need to drive, make sure you ask a healthcare professional for a medicine that will not cause drowsy side-effects.”

Prescription medicines affected by the law

Jaguar Land Rover sneeze

Motorists should consult a doctor about whether they should drive if they’ve been prescribed any of the following drugs:

  • Amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

Drivers are permitted to drive after taking these drugs IF:

  • They’ve been prescribed them and followed advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional.
  • They are not making a driver unfit to drive – even if they’re above the specified limits.

GEM has produced a fact sheet on the dangerous effects some medicines can bring. This can be downloaded here.

Mazda CX-30 gets ‘almost perfect’ safety score

Euro NCAP results

The latest round of Euro NCAP crash-test results has been published, and it’s good news for a range of crossovers and SUVs. However, the new Vauxhall Corsa falls short.

The Mazda CX-30 was the star performer in the tests: awarded 99 percent for adult occupant protection. Its score was, in the words of Euro NCAP’s Michiel van Ratingen, “almost perfect”.

Euro NCAP results

“There are still several cars to be rated in 2019, but it is unlikely we will see better for this part of the assessment,” remarked van Ratingen. “And congratulations to Ford and Mercedes-Benz for their five-star ratings, too.”

The GLB compact crossover is the sixth Mercedes to earn five Euro NCAP stars this year.

Ford’s Explorer SUV, which is coming to Europe as a plug-in hybrid, also achieved a five-star rating.

Euro NCAP results

Vauxhall only managed four stars for the new Corsa, an unfortunate result given it missed out on five stars by a single percentage point. The Corsa was awarded five out of five in three out of the four assessment areas, but its Safety Assist performance wasn’t quite up to scratch.

“Euro NCAP is now gearing up for new tests in 2020, but we’re confident that manufacturers will continue to deliver the highest levels of safety to their customers, said van Ratingen.”

Europe mandates new car safety tech for 2022

Europe mandates extra car safety tech 2022

A raft of new safety technologies will become mandatory in European vehicles as of 2022. The overall aim: to protect passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Human error accounts for 90 percent of fatalities and injuries on our roads, says the European Commission. Advanced safety features will reduce the number of accidents and pave the way towards a connected and automated future, it says.

Two headline features include alcohol interlock installation facilitation and intelligent speed assistance. In other words, built-in breathalysers and speed limiters.

The Commission expects the proposed measures to save around 25,000 lives and 140,000 injuries by 2038. 

It’s part of a wider plan to ‘help drivers get gradually used to the new driving assistance… [enhancing] public trust and acceptance of automated cars’.

The mandatory safety features will cover cars, vans, trucks and buses. Key features include:

  • For cars, vans, trucks and buses: driver drowsiness and distraction warnings, intelligent speed assistance, reversing safety with camera or sensors, ‘black box’ data recorders in the event of an accident.
  • For cars and vans: lane-keeping assistance, advanced emergency braking, crash-test improved safety belts.
  • For trucks and buses: improve the direct vision of bus and truck drivers, remove blind spots, detect and warn of vulnerable road users.

All will become mandatory from 2022, with the exception of direct vision for trucks and buses, which requires necessary structural design changes.

‘We can and must act’

Road safety charity welcomes tougher seatbelt laws

Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, responsible for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error.

“We can and must act to change this. With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced.

“Many of the new features already exist, in particular in high–end vehicles. Now we raise the safety level across the board, and pave the way for connected and automated mobility of the future.”

Click here for more safety technologies that will become mandatory in 2022.