Read about the campaign to modernise our wheels, and follow the links to learn more.
Crash prevention (Active safety measures)
Some vehicles on Britain's roads are already partially-automated thanks to sensor technology using cameras, radar and lasers. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can give warnings, or take action for a driver; for example automatically apply brakes in an emergency. Technology can control vehicles within posted speed limits or warn drivers they are exceeding a limit. Vehicles can be fitted with systems that identify driver impairment; for example, alcohol and drowsiness detection systems. Mirror and camera systems can provide a greater range of vision for drivers; of particular benefit in the largest vehicles. While a few of these systems are legally required, many are not as yet. Go to our ADAS Fact Check. and our Alcohol and Distraction Detection Systems Fact Check.
Crash protection (Passive safety measures)
It is always better to prevent a crash but crash protection systems (passive safety measures) save lives and more needs to be done to ensure passive safety developments are prioritised on vehicles from air bags that protect occupants to softer vehicle exteriors to mitigate injury to vulnerable road users. Read our fact check on passive safety measures for occupant safety, our fact check on passive safety measures on cars for the safety of vulnerable road users including people on foot and bicycles, and our Seat Belt Reminders Fact Check.
EC review of vehicle safety regulations
The EC is currently revising its regulations governing minimum standards for active and passive safety measures, which affects standards of cars sold in the UK. Go to our EU Vehicle Safety Standards Review Fact Check.
Clean revolution: Ultra Low-Emission Vehicles (ULEVs)
Clean vehicles are a crucial part of cleaning up our country. Estimates place transport as causing up to a quarter of carbon emissions contributing to global warming, and it is a major cause of poor air quality from NOx and particulates, contributing to tens of thousands of deaths from respiratory conditions. The British government has a vision of every car being ULEV by 2040, and sales of ULEVs are rocketing; it's easier and cheaper to buy an electric ULEV now, thanks to a grant scheme and an increase in charging stations. The government is also encouraging take up of hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles, particularly among fleets. But ULEVs still make up a tiny fraction of vehicles on Britain's roads (just over 1%). Read our Climate Change and Air Pollution Fact Check. Read our fact check on Diesel Cars and NOx emissions.
The future's arriving fast. Vehicles with 'auto-pilot' functions are already on our roads. Highly-automated vehicles (requiring a driver to step in only for complex driving tasks) and fully-automated vehicles (entirely driverless), ranging from small city 'pods' to large trucks on motorways, are already in circulation as prototypes and could be on Britain's roads before 2020 and replace other vehicles by 2030. In 2017, the government is aiming to change Britain's legislative framework to allow driverless vehicles. In 2017, trials will also start on Britain's public roads of fully-automated and highly-automated vehicles, "connected" through wireless technology (meaning they receive information about each other and their wider environment including road information). Trials will include platooning trucks; a convoy of trucks connected to a lead vehicle. Driverless vehicles are a reality; the challenge is to regulate them in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair for everyone. Read our Driverless Vehicles Fact Check and Brake's position on them.