Safer driving with assistance systems

When people get injured or material damage is caused, the driver is responsible in most of the cases. In more than 90 percent of all accidents, it is human error. In order to reduce the accidents, the car industry opts for driver assisstance systems.

The emergency braking assistance helps to recognise people. Photo: Volvo

These intelligent systems that are able to recognise critical driving and traffic situations in advance, warn of danger and actively intervene where necessary. Their potential to avoid road accidents has been proven in countless studies. According to experts, almost half of all accidents could be avoided or at least their seriousness reduced, if all vehicles involved were equipped with these systems.

Market analysis performed by automotive OEM supplier Bosch reveals that the penetration of said driver assistance systems is growing. According to official registration statistics, one in four new cars registered in Germany in 2015 was equipped with automatic emergency braking, while eleven percent of new cars featured adaptive cruise control, which manages both vehicle speed and the distance to other cars. Lane discipline is automatically monitored and even actively controlled by 16 percent of new cars, while eleven percent boast camera-based traffic sign recognition systems. Other European countries are also seeing a surge in the number of new cars featuring emergency braking systems. In 2015, 32 percent of new cars in the Netherlands were fitted with braking assistance systems, in Belgium it was 30 percent, and in Spain 16 percent. In the United Kingdom, approximately 21 percent of all new cars sold were fitted with emergency braking assistants.

The bester beifahrer (best co-driver) campaign was initiated by the German Road Safety Council to ascertain which driver assistance systems are most effective at compensating for driver error. The campaign is supported by several partners including DEKRA, and uses data from the German Federal Statistical Office. It examines the four most common driver errors that lead to personal injury.

In first place with 18 percent were errors while maneuvering (turning, performing U turns, reversing, entering and pulling away). Second, third and fourth place were occupied by violating right of way (17 percent), tailgating (16 percent) and driving with inappropriate speed (12 percent). In many of these situations, emergency braking assistance, adaptive cruise control or traffic sign recognition systems could actively support the driver.

The human is the deciding factor in road safety

According to Clemens Klinke, Board Member of DEKRA SE and in charge of the Business Unit Automotive, as well as Vice President of the DVR, the installation of such assistance systems does not relieve the driver of their responsibilities. “The human is and remains the deciding factor in road safety, and must therefore remain vigilant when commanding a vehicle.”