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Call for car anti-crash technology


By Mark Stillman

Motorists should be offered government cash incentives to buy cars with anti-crash technology, insurance sector researchers are recommending.

Thatcham Research said such a move could save thousands of lives.

Vehicles fitted with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) are also the subject of 18% fewer third-party injury car insurance claims, it claims.

Peter Shaw, the centre's chief executive, urged the government at Westminster on Tuesday to back his firm's Stop the Campaign.

£500 sweetener for drivers

The initiative plans to ask the Treasury to launch and fund a £500 sweetener for drivers opting to purchase new vehicles with AEB installed.

Mr Shaw said the scheme would see 100% of the UK new car fleet installed with AEB by 2025.

This, he said, could prevent more than 17,000 deaths and serious injuries on the UK's roads in a decade from 2015.

Thatcham said that human failing or distraction is behind 90% of road crashes, with the overall cost of a typical injury crash being £90,000.

£90 added to average car insurance bill

In addition, 550,000 whiplash claims in the UK every year are costing £2 billion. This adds £90 to the average car insurance bill.

Mr Shaw said: "Vehicle technology has been a major factor in cutting UK road deaths from 7,000-plus in the 1970s to 1,754 in 2012.

"A responsible driver who pays extra to reduce the potential impact of their car should benefit from a helping hand from the government."

AA President Edmund King said: "Every now and then a new safety technology comes along that is worthy of widespread uptake as it will save lives.

'The chance to embrace AEB'

"We have seen this with seatbelts, airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control and now we have the chance to embrace AEB.

"Often such technologies are expensive at first and therefore only taken up by safety pioneers or those who can afford top end cars.

"We need to encourage manufacturers to make AEB available further down their model ranges and we need to encourage car buyers, including fleet buyers, to specify AEB when choosing new cars.

"As the government has a good record of giving incentives to encourage the uptake of greener cars, we would like to see such incentives expanded to safer cars."

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