Blind spot technology should be mandatory, says IMechE

Blind spot technology should be mandatory, says IMechE
Collision avoidance technologies, which could help eliminate cyclist and pedestrian deaths caused by driver blind spots, should be made mandatory for all UK buses and lorries by 2015, according to a new paper published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The Intelligent Transport Intelligent Society report also calls for automated emergency response systems to be integrated into all new road vehicles within the next two years. These systems automatically alert emergency services in case of an accident – even if a driver is unconscious – as well as providing the exact location of the accident using GPS.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the IMechE, commented: "New intelligent transport technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives. Cyclists, pedestrians and other road users could all benefit but, just as with seatbelts thirty years ago, we need policymakers to work with the automotive industry to make them mandatory.

"By putting the UK at the forefront of intelligent transport technology we can also build an industry that is set to redefine the car in the next few decades, tapping into a market that will be worth about £40billion by 2020."

One example of a collision avoidance technology is Lateral Safe, which is being developed by the European Council for Automotive Research & Development. The system relies on sensors to warn drivers of obstacles and accident risks, such as cyclists, to the rear or side of the vehicle.

The IMechE also points to electronic safety systems such as the European project eCall, which automatically alert emergency services in the case of a serious car accident, have the potential to cut road fatalities by as much as 10%.

"The alarming rise in cyclist deaths on British roads needs to be addressed urgently," Oldham concluded. "Cyclist deaths have risen by 7% in the past year, with about eight cyclists being killed or seriously injured daily on British roads. A number of these deaths could be prevented if technology to prevent driver blind spots were made mandatory for all large vehicles."

The full report can be downloaded below.

Laura Hopperton

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