Greater safety on the road thanks to driver assistance systems
The findings from traffic accident researchers say the same thing time and time again: The main cause of accidents resulting in personal injury and/or material damage is human error. On average, humans are responsible for more than 90% of all accidents. To compensate for human error to a certain extent, the automotive industry has for many years been increasingly focusing on driver assistance systems, which can recognize critical driving and traffic situations early on, warn of dangers and, if necessary, actively intervene. Their potential to reduce road accidents has already been proven in numerous studies: According to experts almost 50% of accidents could be avoided completely, or at least reduced in terms of severity, if all vehicles were fitted with suitable systems.
Market penetration is becoming increasingly large, according to an evaluation by the automotive supplier Bosch. According to official registration statistics, one in four new cars registered in Germany in 2015 had an automatic emergency braking system on board, while adaptive cruise control (ACC) is already being used in 11% of new vehicles. 16% of new passenger cars monitor lane changing or automatically stay in lane, while 11% of new vehicles are equipped with a camera-based traffic sign recognition system. Automatic emergency braking systems, in particular, are on the rise in other European countries as well. In 2015, 32% of new vehicles registered in the Netherlands were equipped with an emergency braking system. The corresponding figures for Belgium and Spain were 30% and 16% respectively. In 2015, around 21% of all new passenger cars sold in the UK provided emergency braking support.
In order to show what driver assistance systems are particularly helpful with regard to human error behind the wheel, the “Best front-seat passenger” campaign initiated by the Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat e.V (the German road safety council) and supported by DEKRA, has taken a very close look at the four most common car driver errors that lead to accidents with injuries, according to the German federal Statistical Office. Mistakes when turning, executing U-turns, driving backwards, pulling in and driving off came in first place, with 18% of the errors. Second, third and fourth place were taken by non-observance of right of way (17%), insufficient gaps (16%) and inappropriate speed (12%). In many of these situations, systems such as the emergency braking system, ACC or traffic sign assistant can actively help the driver.
According to Clemens Klinke, member of the Management Board of DEKRA SE with responsibility for the Automotive Business Unit as well as Vice President of the German Road Safety Council, the assistance systems that have been installed do not take responsibility away from the driver. “The human being is and remains the decisive element in road safety and must therefore always be careful when on the road.”