Passive safety measures on cars for vulnerable road users

Passive safety measures on cars aim to mitigate the consequences of a crash (reduce outcomes of death or serious injuries). These measures aim to either help occupants or people outside the car. This fact sheet explores passive safety measures that aim to protect people outside the car on foot, bicycles, other non-motorised transport, and motorcyclists. Collectively, these road users are often described by road safety professionals as vulnerable road users (VRUs).

VRUs: risk and casualties

Due to size, weight and rigidity, a collision between a vehicle and a human body can have catastrophic consequences at any speed. Statistics show VRUs are disproportionately casualties in road crashes compared with people inside vehicles.

Just over half the deaths on roads in Britain are VRUs. Of the 1732 road deaths in Britain in 2015, there were 409 deaths on foot; 100 cyclist deaths and 365 motorcyclist deaths [1]. More people die on foot than cycling for reasons including large numbers of pedestrians in towns (inclusive of children and adults with impairments) and low levels of cycling.

The Department for Transport calculates that, per billion miles travelled across the British road network, for every car occupant who dies, more than 8 pedestrians die. The rates are higher for cyclists and motorcyclists. For every car occupant who dies, more than 21 cyclists die and more than 24 motorcyclists die [2]. A factor contributing to higher death rates of people on bicycles or motorcycles compared with on foot is use of higher speed roads.

What happens in a collision between a vehicle and a VRU? What we do, and don’t, know

Most pedestrian injuries are lower limbs [3]. Less than one in seven pedestrian injuries occur from contact with the windscreen (usually the head hitting the windscreen) [4] [5].

However, it is known that most (eight out of ten) deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians are caused by head injuries, and most of these (eight out of ten) are in collisions with the windscreen [6] [7].

In a collision between the front of a normal saloon-style car and a pedestrian, the car can hit the pedestrian’s leg, causing the pedestrian’s body to rotate towards the car at the ‘bonnet leading edge’ (the angle between the vertical bumper and the horizontal bonnet top, known as the BLE), slide up the bonnet and hit their head and upper body on either the bonnet, the windscreen or an A pillar (the solid frame of the car at either side of the windscreen).

Increasingly, modern saloon-style cars have longer, angled windscreens and shorter bonnets than in the past, increasing likelihood of head impact with either the windscreen or the A pillar. However, not all cars are this shape. Notably there has been a significant divergence in the height of BLEs among different car models. SUVs have typically much higher BLEs. SUVs in Europe have increased from less than one in 10 cars ten years ago to around one in five today [8].

It is not known how diversity in shape of cars or any other aspect of their design and road use (for example speed) has specifically affected real world injuries of VRUs, due to lack of close investigation and collation of large data sets regarding what happens in these crashes. Information collated by enforcement agencies is inadequate to inform vehicle engineers about what happens in real world VRU collisions.

For example, it is only hypothesised that, in collisions with children and small adults, a high BLE may hit heads and upper bodies and not result in the person rotating and sliding up onto the bonnet.

Academics have called for a pan-European collision investigation programme (similar to a programme in the US [9]), to “inform the development of applicable and cost effective policies, technologies and solutions to prevent future loss of life and injury on our roads.” [10]

EC regulation of passive safety measures on vehicles to mitigate VRU injuries

The EC introduced, in 2009, regulation aimed at mitigating crash outcomes for VRUs. Commonly known as the Pedestrian Protection Regulation (78/2009) (PPR) [11], the regulation currently requires car manufacturers to do the following with regard to passive safety:

1. fit new models with bonnets and bumpers that can be described as “energy absorbing”

2. pass mandatory impact (crash) tests to the front of the car in laboratory conditions colliding the car and an ‘impactor’. The impactors are dummy body parts. The test results must meet ‘injury-based performance limits’ to pass (in other words, when the impactors and the vehicle collide, the damage incurred to the impactors mustn’t be over given thresholds). The mandatory crash tests are currently:
a. a lower leg form hitting a bumper
b. an adult’s head form hitting the bonnet in the “adult zone” (place it is likely to hit)
c. a child’s head form hitting the bonnet in the “child zone”
For the head form impact tests, two impactors are used at 35kph. The child and adult head forms have a mass of 3.5kg and 4.5kg respectively to represent a child’s head (or small adult’s head) and adult head.

The different head forms are used to impact in different “zones” (places on the bonnet where the heads are thought more likely to land.) The adult head form test is not carried out on short bonnet tops (where the measurement from the ground at the front of the vehicle to the windscreen edge is 1.7metres or less) because it is estimated the adult head form would, on these cars, hit the windscreen not the bonnet.

3. undertake ‘monitoring-only’ impact tests, conducted similarly, but with no requirements for the car model to pass the test (in essence these tests are to give the EC information to inform the feasibility of future mandatory test requirements). Monitoring-only crash tests are currently:
a. an adult's upper leg form hitting the BLE*; and
b. an adult's head form hitting a windscreen.
*An adult upper leg form is used in the BLE test because the BLE test was designed originally in the 1980s, when SUVs were not common and many cars had similar, lower bonnet leading edge heights, often about at the height of an adult upper leg.

 vru collision test zones

Figure 1: The four test procedures used in EU legislation to assess a car’s pedestrian protection.
Credit: Cuerden et al 2016

High failure rates in the ‘monitoring-only’ tests and review of the EC regulation

The PPR is currently under review alongside a review of another set of vehicle safety regulations (the General Safety Regulation (GSR)). Changes to the PPR and GSR are anticipated in 2018.
Two reports relating to these reviews have been published by the EC, one in 2015 and one in 2016.
The 2015 report [12] outlines the benefits and feasibility of various possible safety measures, including passive safety measures to mitigate VRU injuries. It also reports on the poor results of the monitoring-only pedestrian impactor crash tests.

Out of 323 vehicles subjected to the monitoring-only tests for a head form hitting a windscreen, and an adult’s upper leg form hitting the BLE, only one vehicle (a super mini) passed both tests [13].

Regarding the bonnet leading edge test, only two vehicles met the test threshold for injury levels sustained to the upper leg form, and these were both cars with low bonnets (small sports car design) [14].

Regarding the windscreen test, more than half (54%) vehicles tested failed [15].

The 2016 report [16] explains what the EC is considering taking forwards to improve safety. In relation to passive safety measures for VRUs, it says it
“foresees the introduction of ….. head impact protection on A-pillars and front windscreen” [17]

The 2016 report does not mention the BLE test.

Opportunities for change within the PPR

As well as keeping the mandatory lower leg form to bumper and head forms to bonnet tests, the EC has options, in its PPR review, to:
• mandate more crash tests (including the ones it requires for monitoring-only) and
• introduce additional monitoring tests.

Opportunity for a mandatory windscreen test

The EC has the option to elevate the “monitoring only” test of an adult head and a child head against a windscreen to a mandatory test. While more than half models submitted to the monitoring-only windscreen test failed it, nearly half passed it, demonstrating that it is possible for manufactures to meet the test’s requirements.

The 2015 report says manufacturers can address factors relating to the central windscreen area’s “stiffness” upon impact with a head. These factors include windscreen angle, shape, thickness and the glue bonding the windscreen to the car and distance to dashboard. The dashboard itself can also be addressed to be more forgiving [18].

There are also possibilities to make the test tougher by elevating its speed from 35 km/hour. It has been estimated than just over half pedestrians suffer head injuries at impact speeds below 40 km/h but frequency increases to 85.3% at speeds above 40 km/h [19].

Opportunity for a monitoring-only or mandatory A pillar test

The EC has the option to introduce a monitoring-only, or mandatory, crash test of head forms hitting A pillars.
Making A pillars more forgiving is challenging, but an obvious mitigation measure is external air bags. Some manufacturers already fit external air bags to some A pillars (for example, Volvo). The 2015 EC report says: “It will not be easy to meet a stringent …. requirement without adopting a deployable protection system [air bags]. Such systems are available.” [20]

Opportunity for improved and mandatory Bonnet Leading Edge tests of upper legs and development of a BLE to head form test

The EC has the option to make the current monitoring-only BLE crash test (which collides the BLE with an upper leg form) mandatory.

Despite some BLEs now being higher due to SUVs, the current BLE crash test is still appropriate for some older-style cars with low BLEs. Also, the test has been designed to a degree to account for differences in BLE height by testing at different speeds (vehicles with higher BLEs are tested at faster speeds to attain the same rotation speed of the upper leg form when it hits the BLE).

Given that most pedestrian injuries are still lower limbs [21], there is a strong argument for continuing with an improved version of the BLE test and mandating it. The test could be updated in line with the BLE test [22] undertaken by Euro NCAP (the consumer focussed organisation that operates a five-star rating of cars’ safety largely through crash testing.)

However, factors that weigh against the probability of the EC mandating the BLE test include: the test’s limitations (not reflective of full divergence in BLE heights); the comprehensive failure of vehicle models to meet the standards of the monitoring test; and the fact the BLE is not mentioned in the 2016 report.

The EC also has the option to work to devise a new test that tests a high BLE against a child head form and thorax (central body area) form. No such test is available at present.

It is possible to construct BLEs in ways that are more forgiving to heads. This can be achieved through use of materials that deform easily under pressure, displacing the head into the structure of the vehicle, rather than hard materials that cause the head to stop suddenly. The BLE can also be fitted with external air bags.

The EC’s 2015 report says there is a “potential benefit for head, thorax and abdomen protection for children not yet quantified and should be further reviewed in depth, if considered.” [23]

Brake’s position

1 Real world crash investigation
• Fund and deliver a pan-European collision investigation programme that prioritises, among other things, investigating VRU collisions with cars.
2 Mandate monitoring tests
The EC should retain its existing mandated tests (lower leg form to bumper, and head forms to bonnet) and:
• Mandate in the PPR the adult headform to windscreen protection monitoring test, with an impact speed of at least 40km/h
• Mandate the test of an upper leg form against a bonnet leading edge, in line with the latest EuroNCAP testing procedure.
3 Introduce more monitoring tests
• Introduce adult headform to A pillar monitoring tests at 40km/h
• Devise a test between vehicles with higher BLEs and a child’s head form and small adult thorax.
4 Publicise test results
• Ask type-approval authorities to collate and communicate every 3 years regarding all test results.

End Notes

[1] Reported Casualties Great Britain, June 2016
[2] Chart 2: Casualty and fatality rates per billion passenger miles by road user type: GB, 2014, Reported Casualties Great Britain, June 2016
[3] Dietmar, O., Birgitt, W. (2012) Comparison of Injury Situation of Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Car Frontal Impacts and Assessment of Influence Parameter on Throw Distance and Injury Severity.
[4] R Cookson, R Cuerden, D Richards, J Manning, TRL, A review of the causes of fatal pedestrians’ injuries resulting from collisions with car fronts – comparing vehicles registered in 2002 or later with earlier models, IRCOBI Conference 2009
[5] TRL, Study 26
[6] R Cookson, R Cuerden, D Richards, J Manning, TRL, A review of the causes of fatal pedestrians’ injuries resulting from collisions with car fronts – comparing vehicles registered in 2002 or later with earlier models, IRCOBI Conference 2009
[7] TRL, Study 26
[8] ACEA, 2015
[10] Richard Cuerden, Mervyn Edwards, Matthias Seidl, TRL for European Parliament, Research for tran committee - the impact of higher or lower weight and volume of cars on road safety, particularly for vulnerable users, 2015
[11] Pedestrian Protection Regulation (78/2009)
[12] EC, Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, 2015
[13] ibid
[14] ibid
[15] ibid
[16] EC, Saving lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, 2016
[17] EC, Saving lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, 2016
[18] EC, Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, 2015
[19] Dietmar, O., Birgitt, W. (2012) Comparison of Injury Situation of Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Car Frontal Impacts and Assessment of Influence Parameter on Throw Distance and Injury Severity
[20] EC, Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, 2015
[21] Dietmar, O., Birgitt, W. (2012) Comparison of Injury Situation of Pedestrians and Bicyclists in Car Frontal Impacts and Assessment of Influence Parameter on Throw Distance and Injury Severity
[22] Euro NCAP Pedestrian Testing Protocol December 2016
[23] EC, Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report

Page uploaded: March 2017

Passive safety measures for improved vehicle occupant safety

Key facts

• Vehicle models sold in Europe, inclusive of the UK, must meet minimum standards for the safety of occupants.
• Vehicle manufacturers must demonstrate models meet these standards by subjecting them to independently conducted and verified impact tests (commonly known as crash tests) in controlled laboratory conditions following stipulated protocols, at defined speeds and using crash test dummies.
• There are two principal impact tests currently required for cars to be sold in the EU; a frontal impact test and a side impact test. These tests, defined by UN regulations [1], are stipulated within the EU’s General Safety Regulations [2]. The GSR are the main regulations controlling the safety of all road vehicles in the European Union and govern type approval requirements.
• Vehicle manufacturers have large freedom to design vehicles however they like to meet test requirements and become type approved. Very few safety features to protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash are specified in law. Exceptions include fitment and performance of seat belts [3] and car driver seat belt reminder warning systems [4].
• The EC is currently considering crash test improvements for occupant safety as part of its review of the General Safety Regulation. If it goes ahead, improvements are likely to be announced in 2018 [5].
• As part of the EC review of GSR, it is also considering extending the seat belt reminder requirements for car drivers to all car occupants and occupants of all other vehicles types (vans, buses, heavy goods vehicles) [6].
• Euro NCAP, a consumer-focussed organisation, has created a five-star safety rating scheme to help consumers compare the safety of cars and some light goods vehicles. Euro NCAP carries out more demanding tests than the mandatory tests and also rewards manufacturers for fitting safety features as standard [7].
• Over 85% of cars sold in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are rated highly by Euro NCAP (4 or 5 stars), proving manufacturers can easily reach standards higher than those required in mandatory tests [8].

Mandatory testing standards 

New vehicle models sold in Europe, inclusive of the UK, must meet minimum standards for occupant safety, met by passing mandatory impact tests (commonly known as crash tests) carried out or supervised by independent national testing authorities.

Different standards are set for different categories of vehicles, relating to the size, number of passengers and weight of vehicles.
These standards, and the mandatory impact test requirements, are stipulated in General Safety Regulations (EC 661/2009) (GSR). The GSR, inclusive of the regulations that have amended it (407/2011, 523/2012 and 2015/166), governs the type approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units [9].
The GSR (and the accompanying Pedestrian Safety Regulation (PSR) (EC 78/2009)) are the main regulations controlling the safety of all road vehicles in the European Union.

The impact tests are carried out in controlled laboratory conditions, at defined speeds and must follow stipulated protocols. The tests involve Anthropometric Test Devices (ATDs), commonly referred to as crash test dummies, which are equipped to record dynamic behaviour and predict likely real world injury.

Different types of ATD are used for front and side impact tests and record parameters (deflection, force, velocity and deceleration) to assess and ensure a vehicle is within the regulated minimum performance standards based on the biomechanical risk of injury.

To pass an impact test, dummies placed and seat belted in the front seats only of the car must record injury ‘metrics’ below stipulated thresholds during the test.

There are two tests vehicles must pass:

• a frontal impact test (UN Regulation 94); and
• a side impact test (UN Regulation 95).

Different world regions have their own standards however the European Union is actively seeking to harmonise as far as practicable with the UNECE regulatory framework (UNECE has 56 member states). Over the past 50 years Japan, the USA, Canada, South Korea and other countries have adopted their own vehicle safety requirements and standards.

Few mandatory occupant passive safety measures 

With limited exceptions, the fitting of particular passive safety features that aim to protect occupants is not specified in European law. This is because it is generally not permitted to mandate particular solutions or products. This means vehicle manufacturers have significant freedom to design their vehicles as they wish as long as they meet the occupant protection requirements in the mandated crash tests.

The few mandated passive features in the GSR for occupant safety relate to seat belts. They are:

• Seat belts and their anchorages, including fitment and testing (UN Regulations 14 and 16);
• Seat belt reminders for car drivers (but not for other vehicle occupants);
• ISOFIX (a compulsory anchor system for child restraints in cars) [10].

Commonly-fitted occupant passive safety measures 

If vehicle manufacturers only fitted seat belts, it would be difficult to pass the current mandatory crash tests, especially the frontal impact test. For example, manufacturers voluntarily fit an airbag in the steering wheel to pass the frontal impact test.

In order to pass the tests and improve occupant safety, manufacturers have implemented a variety of safety solutions including, most commonly:

i. Seat belt pretensioner Very early on in a collision, a seat belt pretensioner tightens the webbing, removing slack and ensuring that the occupant is ‘coupled’ or attached to the vehicle as soon as possible. This has the effect of providing the maximum stopping distance and subsequently lowers the seat belt forces, because the occupant changes velocity over a larger distance. Without pretensioners, some of the front vehicle structure deformation on impact occurs whilst the occupant is still travelling at the pre-impact speed within the slack of the seat belt webbing. He or she moves forward relative to the car which is being stopped by the impact, travelling into the space created by the slack seat belt webbing. In this scenario, by the time the seat belt is tightened around the occupant, the vehicle has already changed velocity and deformed, which means there is less time and distance to be restrained within and the seatbelt-induced forces on the body are higher.

ii. There are also pre-pretensioners which electronically begin to tighten seat belts if vehicle sensors start to predict a collision may happen. If a collision does not happen, the electric motor loosens the webbing to its original position.

iii. Seat belt load limiter - these devices prevent the seat belt loads becoming too great; when a threshold force is reached the seat belt webbing is released in a controlled way from the reel providing additional distance for the occupant to travel and change velocity within. Seat belt load limiters work with frontal airbags and together they manage the occupant’s energy during the impact.

iv. Frontal airbag This deploys in front of an occupant, and along with the seat belt forms a restraint system (that works together), which manufacturers design to pass the frontal crash test requirements, specifically to mitigate head and chest injury, providing particular protection to the driver from the steering column and wheel.

v. Side curtain airbag This deploys from the roof at the side of a vehicle, and can protect an occupant’s head and chest, particularly in side impact collisions and rollovers, in three ways. It can protect them from:
a. hitting whatever has impacted the vehicle;
b. hitting the side of the vehicle they are in (particularly a ‘B’ pillar (the structural part of a car between a front door and the rear seat area);
c. being ejected from the vehicle (if a vehicle rolls to one side).

vi. Crumple zones. Crumple zones are part of the exterior of the vehicle designed to deform in order to absorb the force of an impact, with the objective of leaving occupants protected in a hard shell.

Other voluntary-fitted occupant passive safety measures 

There are some additional voluntary passive safety measures that are less well known but fitted in some vehicle models. For example:

i. Steering columns that move in a crash (providing the driver with a bigger space in which to decelerate their movement forwards) 

ii. Head restraints that move in a crash to provide extra protection against whiplash 

iii. Air bags in other positions. This includes knee airbags (which help prevent femur and pelvic fractures); airbags in the base of seats (that keep the occupant tightly within their seat belt); and seat belt air bags (that distribute forces over a wider area on your body and lowers the risk of more localised force causing fractures to bones or injury to internal organs).

iv. Forgiving (softer) internal fittings (for example, dashboard made of softer plastics with underlying structures that are designed to distribute loading and avoid concentrated points which could produce high forces on impact).

Voluntarily-fitted 'adaptive restraint systems' 

Adaptive restraint systems (ARS) are additional passive safety measures (also fitted voluntarily by manufacturers) designed to adapt to the circumstances of a crash (for example the speed) and the nature of vehicle occupants (for example weight and height) and adjust accordingly the restraint loads applied. This includes providing less forceful restraint in lower-speed crashes.

These systems provide greater protection, particularly to people with more vulnerable bodies, notably older people who generally are more likely to suffer injury under given loading conditions because biomechanical tolerance to trauma reduces with age as bones weaken.

The protection of older vehicle occupants is a particular cause for concern because: they are growing in number (due to demographic changes); they are involved disproportionately in some crashes; and they sustain injuries more easily and severely than younger people. [11]

Examples are:

i. Dual-stage frontal air bags. These deploy at a tailored speed and to a tailored size, depending on the size and position of the person in the seat.

ii. Variable load limiters. These release webbing according to the collision and vehicle users’ characteristics.

Real world crashes and limitations of the current tests 

There is a phenomenon of large SUVs being purchased for use in towns and on trunk roads. It is possible that some people buy SUVs because they perceive that larger and heavier cars provide more occupant protection than smaller and lighter cars. However, the occupant protection performance of any sized vehicle in a crash is highly dependent on many variables, not just size and weight. In the real world, vehicles collide with all kinds of vehicles and static objects (road furniture, trees, telephone poles, etc.) of varying size and weight, but also at varying heights, speeds and angles. This causes vehicles and occupants to be impacted in a multitude of ways.[12]

Many crashes in the real world involve circumstances not covered by the parameters of the current mandatory crash tests.

The frontal impact test only involves a collision with part of a car’s front. This is called an “offset” test and is designed to test the structural integrity of the car. Some real world collisions involve damage to the full width of the front. These full width collisions typically generate higher deceleration forces and test the seat belts and restraint systems much more than the offset test.

The side impact test simulates a car to car impact, but the bullet or striking car is replicated by a trolley, which has uniform stiffness and only weighs 950kg. The trolley is not representative of a modern car. A modern car on average weighs more than 1,200kg and has a complicated front structure that results in concentrated forces in varying places in the event of a collision. The side impact test conditions are also very different than those experienced in impacts with poles or trees, or with collisions with larger vehicles such as heavy goods vehicles.

There is no rear impact test. 

There is no testing involving dummies in rear seats. 

Euro NCAP testing 

Euro NCAP, a consumer-focussed organisation, has created a five-star safety rating scheme to help consumers compare the safety of cars and light-vehicles.

Euro NCAP carries out more demanding impact tests than the mandatory tests. For example, it carries out a full-width frontal impact test using dummies in the front and rear of the car. It also rewards manufacturers for fitting safety features as standard, including active safety measures such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).

The Euro NCAP overall safety rating, which was introduced in 2009, is based on an assessment in four areas:
• adult occupant protection (for the driver and front seat passenger)
• child occupant protection
• pedestrian protection
• the fitting of technologies that assist safety (known as the ‘Safety Assist’ (SA) score). The SA score is determined from performance tests of today’s driver assist technologies that support safe driving to avoid crashes and mitigate injuries.
The overall safety rating used by Euro NCAP means it is possible for a car to offer reasonable protection in one of these areas, or a combination of these areas, and still be less than 4-star rated because they score poorly in other areas. Therefore, given the current scoring system, cars with a minimum of four stars and ideally five stars are recommended. Even then, a five star rating by Euro NCAP isn’t necessarily representative of a vehicle providing all-round good levels of protection in all types of ‘real world’ collisions, particularly if the stars were awarded before 2009. (The earlier star ratings only evaluated the front seat adult occupant protection and separately captured the risks posed to pedestrians or rear seat passengers.)

Euro NCAP tests provide the consumer with a useful comparison of safety performance between different cars within the same class of vehicle and that were tested at a similar time. Euro NCAP has also tested some vans and pick-up trucks, but the majority of the testing is cars.

It’s reasonable to perceive that Euro NCAP has played, and continues to play, an important role in encouraging vehicle manufacturers to elevate their vehicle safety standards voluntarily and well above the requirements of the regulated mandatory impact tests. More than 85% of cars sold in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are now rated highly by Euro NCAP (4 or 5 stars), proving manufacturers can easily reach standards much higher than those required in the mandatory tests.

The challenge is to ensure all cars sold in the UK have a minimum 4 star rating. There are still some two star cars in the UK.

The EC review of passive safety systems for vehicle occupants: and Brake’s position

The EC is reviewing the GSR and has committed to considering a number of different possibilities for extending the regulations to include more passive safety systems for occupant safety, with decisions expected by 2018.

The possibilities the EC is considering are listed in a report it published at the end of 2016 [12] preceded by a review in 2015 of the benefits and feasibility of implementation of a wider number of measures [13].

Brake’s position is to support the following measures to be legislated in 2018:

1 Seat belt reminders
The EC is considering seat belt reminders to be fitted to all passenger seats (currently only driver seats).

2 Improve frontal and side impact tests
The EC is considering the “introduction of new requirements or enhancing of existing measures in the field of …. frontal crash testing, side crash testing, rear crash testing.” [14]

Brake’s position is to support mandatory occupant testing that brings tests up to the same standard as those required to win ‘good’ (4 or 5 star) ratings in each aspect of the Euro NCAP voluntary tests.

Brake supports the following proposals for improvements to the mandatory minimum impact tests:

i) Improvements to frontal impact test, including
• Remove the exemptions for heavier cars (>2,500kg) and include Reg 94 testing for vans
• Introduce a small overlap test
• Introduce a full width test

ii) Improvements to side impact test, including
• Remove the exemptions for taller cars and include Reg 95 testing for vans
• Introduce a pole impact test
• Introduce a far side impact test

iii) Introduce rear impact testing
There is currently no rear impact test, and this needs introducing. This would verify safety standards of the fuel system (petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid) and structural integrity.

iv) Introduce testing standards that include testing with rear dummies. 

Brake supports the retention of lower impact test requirements for lightweight, smaller vehicles with lower emissions, particularly ultra-low emission vehicles or vehicles with low travelling speeds.

End notes

[1] UN Regulation 94 and 95
[2] General Safety Regulations (EC 661/2009)
[3] UN Regulations 14 and 16
[4] General Safety Regulations (EC 661/2009)
[5] EC, Saving lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, 2016
[6] ibid
[7] Euro NCAP
[8] Euro NCAP
[9] General Safety Regulations (EC 661/2009)
[10] General Safety Regulations (EC 661/2009)
[11] Richard Cuerden, Mervyn Edwards, Matthias Seidl, for European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development, The impact of higher or lower weight and volume of cars on road safety, particularly for vulnerable users: analytical study, 2016
[12] EC, Saving lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, 2016
[13] EC, Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report
[14] EC, Saving lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, 2016

Page uploaded: March 2017 

EU vehicle safety standards review

Key facts

• Vehicles can be designed with active and passive safety measures: active safety measures are designed to prevent collisions and passive safety measures aim to mitigate the consequences of collisions. Active and passive measures aim to protect vehicle occupants and/or other road users [1];
• The EU has the power to regulate minimum active and passive safety standards on vehicles through vehicle type approval regulations and requires vehicles to pass minimum standard crash tests [2];
• The EC is currently carrying out a review of its outdated regulations on vehicles' active and passive safety standards and this review is expected to result in raised standards by 2018 [3]; 
• EU regulation is behind the curve of vehicle safety developments. Vehicle manufacturers have developed a number of active and passive safety measures, fitted to some vehicle models, that exceed current mandatory standards and can enable these vehicles to pass more demanding crash tests by the voluntary assessment scheme Euro NCAP [4].


Safer vehicles are crucial to a safer system with fewer casualties. Increasingly, vehicles are being fitted with ‘active’ safety measures that help prevent crashes occurring (such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB)) [5]. Active safety measures are at the cutting edge of safe vehicle design and the move towards vehicle automation. Read our fact pages on Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and driverless vehicles.

‘Passive’ safety measures on vehicles aim to mitigate the consequences of an impact as opposed to preventing the impact [6]. They are designed to help protect either vehicle occupants (for example seat belts, air bags, head restraints) or people on foot / bicycles and other vulnerable road users outside the vehicle (for example softer bumpers / windscreens). 

Safety standards (assessed through mandatory crash testing of new models) and specific active and passive measures required for type approval of vehicles sold in Europe (inclusive of the UK at present) are set down in the General Safety Regulation (EC 661/2009) [7]; and the Pedestrian Protection Regulation (EC 78/2009) [8], both currently under review in 2017.

Regulation currently lags well behind the curve of technological advances in safety by many vehicle manufacturers. The standards required for a new car model to pass mandatory crash tests are below the standard of crash tests conducted by Euro NCAP, the vehicle safety assessment programme used by consumers to inform their purchasing habits [9]. Most cars sold in the UK receive four or five star ratings from Euro NCAP. 

However, some cars don't receive four or five stars, and not all cars are fitted with all possible safety features. This is an equity issue: cheaper models often do not benefit from safety technology fitted to more expensive models. Improvements to regulation are needed. 

Current regulation in the GSR and PPR

The General Safety Regulation and its amendments mandates electronic stability control (ESC) on all vehicles. Trucks and buses are required to have autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and Lane Departure Warning systems. Passive safety measures required are driver seat belt reminders and ISOFIX child seat anchors. New car models are required to pass a mandatory off-set frontal impact test and a side impact test, both with occupant dummies in the front. There is no full-width frontal impact test. There is no pole test (simulating the side of a vehicle hitting a pole or tree). There is no rear impact test. 

The Pedestrian Protection Regulation aims to protect people on foot, cyclists and other vulnerable road users (VRUs) in collisions with cars through improvement to vehicle design. The regulation requires manufacturers to fit energy absorbing bonnets and front bumpers to help mitigate injury to vulnerable road users. New models are required to pass mandatory tests impacting a) a lower leg form hitting a bumper and b) adult and child head forms hitting the bonnet. New models are also required to undertake monitoring tests (but they don't have to pass these tests). The monitoring tests collide an upper leg form against the "bonnet leading edge" (the angle between the bumper and the bonnet) and an adult's head form against a windscreen (head impacts against windscreens are common, and a leading cause of death of VRUs). The PPR also stipulates the fitting of a "brake assist" technology to vehicles, which increases the power of braking. 


There is an expectation that the review of these two regulations will result in regulatory requirements for new and improved active and passive safety measures on vehicles to protect occupants and people outside vehicles including elevating the requirements of crash tests [10]. This should save lives. As part of the review, the EC has produced two reports:

• A report on the 'benefits and feasibility' of introducing active and passive safety measures currently not included in the regulations [11]. This was published in 2015 and contains 55 possible measures; and
• A report listing 19 vehicle safety measures being considered now by the EC for inclusion in amended regulations [12].

The 19 vehicle safety measures listed for consideration are as follows: 

Active safety measures: 

1. Automatic Emergency Braking (already required on trucks and buses);
2. Intelligent Speed Adaptation (technology that can control a vehicle within speed limits or warn a driver to comply);
3. Lane Keep Assistance (corrects steering if a vehicle veers out of a lane);
4. Driver Drowsiness and Distraction Monitoring (technology that identifies and warns a driver if they are falling asleep / distracted).

Passive safety measures: 

5. Emergency Braking Display (flashing stop lights);
6. Seat belt reminders for passengers (these are already required for the driver);
7. Improvements to frontal crash testing for occupant safety; 
8. Improvements to side crash testing for occupant safety;
9. Introduction of rear crash testing (there is no required test at present);
10. Standardised interface for fitting alcohol interlock devices;
11. Crash event data recorders;
12. Tyre pressure monitoring.

Vulnerable road user safety:

13. Pedestrian and cyclist detection linked to AEB systems;
14. Head impact protection on A pillars and front windscreen (crash testing standards and requirements);
15. Reversing detection devices.

Heavy goods vehicle (truck) and bus design measures: 

16. Front-end design and direct vision;
17. Truck and trailer rear underrun protection (rear bumper);
18. Lateral protection (side guards);
19. Fire safety for buses.

Consideration of these measures is happening at present and the new regulations are expected to be implemented by 2018.

Go to our fact checks on Passive safety systems for vehicle occupancy and Passive safety systems on cars for vulnerable road users.

End notes

[1] Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, European Commission, 2015
[2] Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: Article 114, European Commission, 2008
[3] Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, European Commission, 2015
[4] About Euro NCAP, Euro NCAP
[5] Saving lives with safer cars, European Commission, 2016
[6] Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, European Commission, 2015
[7] Regulation (EC) 661/2009 of the European Parliament and Council concerning the type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units, European Commission, 2009
[8] Regulation (EC) No 78/2009 of the European Parliament and Council on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, amending Directive 2007/46/EC, European Commission, 2009 
[9] EuroNCAP, Official site of the European New Car Assessment Programme
[10] Saving Lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, European Commission, 2016
[11] Hynd, D. et al, Benefits and feasibility of a range of technologies and unregulated measures in the field of vehicle occupant safety and protection of vulnerable road users: final report, European Commission, 2015
[12] Saving Lives: Boosting car safety in the EU, European Commission, 2016

Date posted: March 2017

The safe systems approach to road safety


What is safe systems?

Safe systems is an approach to road safety management, based on the principle that our life and health should not be compromised by our need to travel. No level of death or serious injury is acceptable in our road transport network.

Safe systems is designed with the human being at its centre, taking human fallibility and vulnerability into account, and accepting that even the most conscientious person will make a mistake at some point. The goal of safe systems is to ensure that these mistakes do not lead to a crash; or, if a crash does occur, it is sufficiently controlled to not cause a death or a life-changing injury.

Responsibility for the system is shared by everyone. Policy makers, planners, engineers, vehicle manufacturers, fleet managers, enforcement officers, road safety educators, health agencies and the media are accountable for the system’s safety; while every road user, whether they drive, cycle or walk, is responsible for complying with the system’s rules.

A safe systems approach also aligns road safety management with broader ethical, social, economic and environmental goals. By creating partnerships where government or transport agencies work closely with other groups, safe systems tackles other problems associated with road traffic, such as congestion, noise, air pollution and lack of physical exercise.

Safe systems is made up of four main components:

Who developed it?

The two earliest countries to adopt a safe systems approach to road safety were Sweden and the Netherlands: see Case studies below.

Sweden launched “Vision Zero” in 1994 [1], based on a strategy already in use in the air and rail transport industries, and summarised by the sentence “No loss of life is acceptable”. Vision Zero became law in 1997 as part of a Road Traffic Safety Bill, setting an ultimate target of no deaths or serious injuries on Sweden’s roads.

The Netherlands demo-ed its Sustainable Safety approach in 1995, followed by a full start-up programme in 1997 [2]. Sustainable Safety differs slightly from Sweden’s Vision Zero approach in that it does not assume that road users will obey the rules, and it considers public information and education to be a vital part of safe systems.

Is safe systems used in the UK?

Today, safe systems is considered to be international best practice in road safety by the World Health Organisation (WHO) [3] and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) [4]. Both organisations recommend that all countries, regardless of their level of road safety performance, follow a safe systems approach.

Safe systems has not been adopted by the UK government as a whole. However, Highways England, a government-appointed company set up to operate and improve the strategic road network (motorways and major A-roads) in England, has a safe systems approach at its heart, focusing its strategy on “safer vehicles, safer roads for safer people” [5].

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) published a guide in 2013, advising local authorities in England on how they might introduce safe systems [6]. Safe systems has since been adopted by several local administrations, including Bristol City Council (see Case studies below) and Brighton & Hove City Council. At the time of writing, Birmingham City Council was preparing a new road safety strategy based on a safe systems approach, which was expected to be approved by the end of 2015.

How is safe systems implemented?

A successful safe system approach is developed through:

  • taking an aspirational vision of road safety
  • altering people’s views about the inevitability of crashes, and overturning institutionalised attitudes towards road safety responsibility
  • commitment at the highest levels of government
  • carrying out data collection and analysis, so that crash risks and current road safety performance can be better understood
  • greater financial investment in road safety
  • sharing knowledge [7]

Safer roads

According to a safe systems approach, roads are designed to reduce the risk of crashes occurring, and the severity of injuries if a crash does occur. Safety features are incorporated into the road design from the outset, for example:

Segregating road users: One of the key dangers on our roads is that different types of road user share the same space. As far as possible, a safe systems approach seeks to segregate different road users, developing and enhancing safer routes for vulnerable users. For example, a local council or transport authority may focus on creating or expanding a cycle route network; construct and maintain footways; or work with schools to develop safer walking routes for children.

Segregating traffic: It is also desirable to segregate traffic that is moving in different directions or at different speeds – for example, by crash barriers separating opposite lanes of traffic. Crash barriers and other physical measures should be “soft” and give in the event of a crash, and verges made safer.

Speed: If segregation of people and traffic is not possible, then appropriate speed limits are put in place to protect the most vulnerable of road users. As part of their safe systems approach, for example, both Bristol and Brighton & Hove city councils have introduced a 20mph city-centre speed limit.

Self-explaining roads: Safe systems roads are “self-explaining”, i.e. they are designed so that the driver is aware of what is expected of them and behaves appropriately. Each class of road is immediately distinctive, with its own carriageway width, road markings, signing and use of street lighting that are consistent throughout the route. The simplicity and consistency of the road’s design reduces driver stress and driver error.

There is also an emphasis on a proactive approach to road safety, with improvements made to improve both the actual and perceived risks of road safety. Crash hot spots are identified, and targeted engineering measures taken to remedy them, e.g. by improving road surfaces, removing roadside obstacles to vision, or installing traffic lights.

Safer speeds

Speed limits in safe systems are based on aiding crash avoidance and a human body’s limit for physical trauma. An unprotected pedestrian hit at over 20mph has a significant risk of death or life-changing injury. A car in a side-on collision can protect its occupants up to around 30mph; a car in a head-on collision up to around 40mph [8].

Safe systems seeks to:

Establish appropriate speed limits: These are set according to road features and function and the known physical tolerances of road users, e.g. by rolling out a 20mph speed limit across a city centre or residential streets.

Enforce existing limits: Transport authorities work with the police to develop and evaluate speed enforcement. They may also work with community groups such as Community Speedwatch (CWS), a locally driven initiative where community members use speed detection devices to monitor vehicle speed, with the support of the police [9].

Educate road users: Authorities can mount speed enforcement and education campaigns. They might also ensure speed limit compliance by working directly with fleet drivers, licensed taxi companies or contractor vehicles.

Learn more: Read our fact pages and our advice for drivers on staying slow and safe.

Safer vehicles

Vehicles are designed, built and regulated to minimize the occurrence and consequences of crashes, with the emphasis on collision survivability. There are two main strands to safer vehicles – technology and road-worthiness:

Technology: ‘Active safety’ measures that help to prevent crashes include collision-avoidance systems, (semi-)autonomous vehicles, stability control, improved road-vehicle interaction, automatic braking systems, air cushion technology, alcolocks, and speed limiters on fleet vehicles. Vehicle components that protect occupants if a crash does occur (‘passive safety’) include three-point seat belts, padded dashboards and airbags.

Road worthiness: Consumers and businesses are encouraged to purchase safer vehicles. Vehicles are then maintained to the highest safety standards.

Learn more: Read our fact pages on choosing safer vehicles and vehicle maintenance, and our advice page on vehicle maintenance and breakdowns.

Safer road use

Everyone who uses roads is encouraged to use roads safely and comply with road rules. Emphasis is placed on a philosophy of shared and proportionate responsibility. Safe systems encourages safer road use in various ways, including:

Traffic reduction: Authorities work to reduce the volume of motor vehicle traffic, for example, by encouraging greater use of safer modes of travel such as public transport.

Education: Safe systems creates risk-aware drivers through education and publicity; for example, making new drivers aware of the risks they face, and encouraging all road users to travel unimpaired, alert, at safe speeds and without distraction, complying with road rules at all times. In-vehicle technologies may be used to give safety feedback and reduce risky behaviours by monitoring how a vehicle is driven, and feeding back information on speed, seatbelt use, hard acceleration and braking. Drivers who do not follow rules are required to undertake further education, for example, through the UK’s National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) course.

Use of streets for other purposes: By encouraging streets to be used for a range of community purposes, everyone is encouraged to have a stake in their streets. This may be small-scale, street-wide activities such as street parties and playing-out activities, or larger-scale municipal closures like “Paris Respire", where roads along the Seine are closed to traffic on Sundays.

Examine new ways of measuring safety: Traditionally, casualty statistics have been the primary method of measuring road safety. Safe systems looks to additional ways of measuring safety, e.g. the public’s perception of road danger.

Integrated school travel planning initiatives: Children are encouraged to use roads more safely. Transport authorities might work closely with schools to create safe walking routes for children, or expand the number of School Crossing Patrols in the area.

Learn more: Read our Campaigns pages for more on Brake’s campaigning work
Learn more: See Brake’s Kids Walk and Beep Beep! Day pages for children’s road safety events

Case studies

Sweden – Vision Zero 

Sweden launched its “Vision Zero” strategy in 1994 [10], based on a philosophy already in use in the air and rail transport industries. This maintains that life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within society: they always take priority over the road traffic system.

At its core, Vision Zero states that humans are fallible, so our road systems cannot be. Safety must become the principle feature, with human error compensated for at all points. It seeks to promote long-term road safety developments across all of society’s institutions, including more involvement from the private sector.

Vision Zero became law in 1997 as part of a Road Traffic Safety Bill, setting an ultimate target of no deaths or serious injuries on Sweden’s roads.

The scheme is considered a success. Sweden has one of the world’s lowest traffic-related fatality rates. Road deaths have continued to decrease despite a steady rise in traffic.

Netherlands – Sustainable Safety

From the mid-1990s, the Netherlands developed Sustainable Safety [11], the goal of which was to prevent crashes from occurring, or if that could not be done, to prevent serious injury or death.

Sustainable Safety relied on wide-scale infrastructure changes to achieve its results, for example, from the start of the initiative up to 2003, the number of roads covered by a 30km/h limit was increased by approximately 30,000 km.

Between 1998 and 2007, the number of road deaths in the Netherlands decreased by an estimated 30%, compared to a scenario-based forecast made using previous road safety policy [12].

Bristol City Council

In March 2015, Bristol unveiled a 10-year plan for a safe systems approach to road safety. The plan was formed to make Bristol’s roads safer, encourage people to make sustainable travel choices, improve the quality of life of Bristol’s residents, and reduce the economic impact of road crashes, which cost the city over £40m in 2013 [13].

The plan is based on six action points: reduce the cost of public transport and improve its reliability; improve the city’s cycle network; reduce emissions; tackle commuter congestion; promote walking and cycling as alternatives to car use; and improve road layout to make safe, people-friendly streets.

Bristol City Council has used its previous road safety successes – e.g. 20mph limits in residential streets, the “Wheels, Skills and Thrills” project designed to improve young driver behaviour – to set the standard for its 10-year plan [14].

To achieve a safe systems approach, the council works closely and collaboratively with many groups: transport and engineering services; health and emergency services; advanced driving groups (IAM/RoSPA); driving schools and instructors; fleet services including taxi drivers and bus operators; schools and universities (UWE); campaigning groups (Sustrans, Living Streets); and neighbourhood partnerships and local residents.


[1]^ Vision Zero

[2]^ SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

[3]^ Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, WHO

[4]^ Towards Zero: Ambitious road safety targets and the safe system approach, OECD 2008

[5]^ Strategic Business Plan 2015-2020, Highways England 2014

[6]^ Road Safety: A guide for local councillors in England, RoSPA 2013

[7]^ Towards Zero: Ambitious road safety targets and the safe system approach, OECD 2008

[8]^ Speeding - Did you know? Factsheet, Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales 2011

[9]^ Community Speedwatch (CWS)

[10]^ Sweden – Vision Zero Initiative

[11]^ Sustainable Safety in the Netherlands: the vision, the implementation and the safety effects, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, 2005

[12]^ http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/UK/FS_Sustainable_Safety_principles.pdf

[13]^ A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol: A 10-year Plan, March 2015

[14]^ A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol: A 10-year Plan, Appendix 2,

March 2015

Page created September 2015

Choosing safer vehicles

Choosing the safest possible vehicle can have a huge impact on how well protected you and your family and passengers are, as well as other road users around you. Modern vehicle technology and engineering features are widely available that can significantly reduce the risk of you being in a crash in the first place, as well as offering greater protection from injury if you are in a collision.

Safety ratings

Most new vehicles are tested for to see how well they protect occupants, and other road users, in a crash. In Europe these tests are carried out by Euro NCAP, an organisation made up of representatives from European governments and consumer organisations [1]. These tests are not compulsory, so not every new vehicle is tested. Euro NCAP selects a sample of new models for testing each year, and more are submitted voluntarily by manufacturers [2]. Euro NCAP provides a star rating for overall safety, which is made up from assessment of adult occupant protection, child protection, pedestrian protection, and collision avoidance technology (see section below) [3]. As all four categories are included in the overall rating, to achieve the top five-star rating new vehicles must have adequate protection for everyone inside and outside the vehicle, and at least some collision avoidance technology. Anyone buying a new vehicle can check the safety rating at www.euroncap.com.

Vehicle type

Some vehicle types are inherently more risky than others for their riders or occupants. For example, motorcyclists are nine times more likely to crash, and 17 times more likely to die in a crash, than car drivers [4]. This is partly because motorcyclists lack the protection of a vehicle around them, as well as other factors that cause these crashes, such as drivers often not spotting motorcyclists at junctions, and some motorcyclists taking risks like riding at high speed. Drivers of other vehicles should therefore take great care to look out for motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Motorcyclists should also take all possible precautions such as wearing full protective clothing and helmets, and riding slowly, well within speed limits, and avoiding overtaking.

Some vehicle types are inherently more risky for people around the vehicle. For example, larger cars such as sports utility vehicles (SUVs, often referred to as 4x4s) cause much more damage if they hit someone. A pedestrian hit by a large SUV is twice as likely to be killed as a pedestrian hit by a normal sized car [5]. In collisions between an SUV and a smaller car, the person in the smaller car is 12 times more likely to be killed than the person in the SUV [6]. This is because SUVs are generally heavier and stiffer than normal cars, and therefore cause more damage on impact. They are also taller, so pedestrians hit by SUVs are more likely to suffer head or chest injuries, which are more likely to be fatal [7].

Larger vehicles like SUVs also have bigger blind spots, so drivers are more likely to fail to see vulnerable road users, particularly children who are smaller and harder to spot.

Vehicle age

Newer vehicles are less likely to be involved in fatal crashes, due to continual improvements in crash protection features [8] (see below). The risk of dying in a crash is 71% higher in a vehicle that is 18 years old or more compared to a vehicle three years old or less [9]. Mechanical defects also become more common as a vehicle ages, further compromising the safety of the vehicle. Brake therefore advises anyone using a vehicle to choose the newest and safest they can afford. Read our fact page on vehicle maintenance.

Passive safety systems

Passive safety systems within the vehicle, such as airbags, seat belts, and side impact bars, can mean the difference between life and death in a crash. They will not prevent a crash, but will help protect the occupants from serious harm by absorbing the impact of the crash. The benefits of these features are well-known, so they are standard in modern vehicles. Vehicles with more advanced crash protection score more highly on Euro NCAP safety ratings. In particular, vehicles must score highly on child protection to achieve a high overall score [16].

Protecting vulnerable road users

Drivers should choose vehicles that not only protect the occupants, but also minimise the threat posed to other road users. Some vehicles are designed to minimise the damage to vulnerable road users in a collision. For example, cars with a short front-end and a wide windshield are less likely to kill pedestrians in a crash [17]. Brake advises against driving SUVs in urban areas – if most of your driving is in these areas, choose a smaller vehicle that is less likely to cause harm to other road users. If you’re buying a new vehicle, choose one with a high Euro NCAP safety rating for protecting vulnerable road users as well as occupants.

Mini-motos and quad bikes

Miniature motorcycles (mini-motos), miniature quad bikes and scooters are often seen as fun and exciting toys for children (it is legal for children under 16 to ride these vehicles on private property [18]). However, these vehicles are fast, powerful and difficult to control. They are therefore inappropriate and unsafe for children. Brake strongly advises against children being put in control of these vehicles in any circumstances, or carried as passengers. Read our fact page on the dangers of quad bikes and mini motos.

Choosing not to drive

Driving a motor vehicle of any type is increasingly costly, as well as being damaging to the environment and contributing to road danger and congestion. Minimising the amount you drive, or choosing not to drive at all, and getting about by public transport, walking, or cycling, can have all sorts of positive benefits for you, your community and the planet. Read our fact page on sustainable and active travel.

[1] About us, Euro NCAP, undated

[2] Cars chosen for testing, Euro NCAP, undated

[3] The ratings explained, Euro NCAP, undated

[4] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2013, Department for Transport, 2014

[5] The fatality and injury risk of light truck impacts with pedestrians in the United States, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2004

[6] Car occupant and motorcyclist deaths, 1994-2002, Transport Research Laboratory, 2005

[7] Pattern of injury in motor vehicle accidents, University of Witwatersrand Medical School, 2002

[8] Analyzing the relationship between car generation and severity of motor-vehicle crashes in Denmark, University of Denmark’s Department of Transport, 2013

[9] How Vehicle Age and Model Year Relate to Driver Injury Severity in Fatal Crashes, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2013

[10] Vehicle safety, DaCoTa, 2012

[11] ESC reduces fatal crashes in winter by up to 32%, Swedish Transport Administration, 2012

[12] The tests explained: ESC, Euro NCAP, undated

[13] Vehicle safety, DaCoTa, 2012

[14] Auto Braking Cars : Government Should Meet Motorists Halfway, Thatcham, 2014

[15] Visibility of children behind 2010–2013 model year passenger vehicles using glances, mirrors, and backup cameras and parking sensors, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2014

[16] The ratings explained: child occupant protection, Euro NCAP, undated

[17] Effects of vehicle impact velocity, vehicle front-end shapes on pedestrian injury risk, Xiamen University of Technology, 19/09/12

[18] Road safety: mini motos, Thames Valley Police, 2014

Page last updated: October 2014