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Cars that save lives

Cars that save lives - Featured Image

Ninety per cent of road crashes involve some form of human error, so not paying attention when behind the wheel, even for a second, can result in devastating injury or death.

The AMA and the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) last month came together to launch the ‘Avoid the crash, Avoid the trauma’ campaign to call for automatic brakes to be installed in all new vehicles sold in Australia.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems use camera and sensor technology to detect the speed and distance of objects in a vehicle’s path, and automatically brake if the driver does not respond.

80,000 Australian lives have been saved due to improvements in road safety since the 1970s, but modern daily lives are full of spur-of-the-moment choices and potentially deadly interruptions.

Juggling work and family commitments is never easy and being contactable every moment of the day on our mobile phones has, arguably, added another layer of complexity and distraction.

AMA President Professor Brian Owler said systems like AEB could be as effective as seatbelts in saving lives.

Speaking at the campaign launch at Parliament House in Canberra, Professor Owler called on politicians, the car industry, and all road users to join the push for adoption of new technologies such as AEB to make cars safer and save lives.

Professor Owler, who is a leading Sydney neurosurgeon and the face of the successful NSW Government ‘Don’t Rush’ road safety campaign, said road trauma was avoidable.

“The key is making cars safer, and educating drivers about the risks of speeding and careless driving,” Professor Owler said.

“Too often, I see the horrific injuries and loss of life caused by road crashes when drivers get it wrong.”

ANCAP Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Clarke said fitting new cars with AEB is standard practice overseas, but in Australia it is either a costly option or not offered.

“AEB is a technology that will reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road crashes,” Mr Clarke said.

“While the number of people killed on Australia’s roads is declining, road crashes are still unnecessarily killing around 1200 people every year.”

Odette Visser