As UN Global Road Safety week puts worldwide pedestrian safety under the spotlight, the IAM is asking the UK government and car makers to make pedestrian-friendly car fronts a top priority. The government should be taking the lead in lobbying the European Commission and car manufacturers to make radical changes so that vulnerable road users can get the same five star protection as those sitting in the vehicle.
The number of deaths and serious injuries to car occupants fell by 524 in 2011 but amongst vulnerable road users they increased:
- Pedestrians - 48 more killed, 254 more seriously injured
- Cyclists - four fewer killed, 425 more seriously injured
Since 2006, car occupants' deaths and serious injuries have fallen by 35% but for pedestrians the fall is just 16 per cent, while cyclist deaths and serious injuries have increased by 31 per cent. Car occupants benefit increasingly from the high standards of crash protection brought about by the Euro NCAP crash testing programme, ensuring more four and five-star cars than ever are on the market. Improvements to the front of cars that would benefit pedestrians and cyclists in a collision have simply not kept pace.
New research by IAM shows that the average Euro NCAP rating for car occupants in super minis in the last three years is eighty-two per cent while for pedestrians it is much lower, at 53 per cent. There needs to be a new focus on bringing pedestrian safety up to the level now enjoyed by car occupants.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "While the people in the car are much safer, in the case of a crash with a pedestrian or cyclist, the front of the car is not as forgiving. Much more can and should be done through car design to minimise the damage caused by hard metal on soft tissue."