Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

The fact that more than 1.8 million UK cars are now fitted with collision warning systems is helping to reduce accidents...

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Claire Evans
22 January 2018

Nearly seven out of 10 new cars sold in the UK can now be ordered with driver assistance systems that are expected to prevent 25,000 serious accidents and save 2500 lives by 2030.

More than 66% of new cars registered in 2016 were fitted with collision warning systems that either prevent or mitigate driver errors, which are the cause of more than 90% of road accidents.

The data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) and JATO Dynamics shows that 67% of cars are offered with at least one automatic safety aid.

Three systems top the list of popular safety technology: automatic emergency braking (AEB), blindspot sensors and parking assistance. AEB is now available on more than 50% of new cars; overtaking sensors can be fitted to more than 40% of models; and 36% of vehicles can be had with adaptive cruise control that automatically speeds a car up and slows it down to keep a safe space from the vehicle in front.

Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

Parking assistance technology that prevents car park dings and can also park a car for the driver is also widely available – it’s offered on 59% of all new cars.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive, said: “Safety is the number one priority for vehicle manufacturers and the pace of technological change is faster than ever before, with driver assistance technologies now available on the majority of vehicles.”

Another factor in the increased safety systems fitted to cars is the role played by crash test organisation Euro NCAP. From 2018, it’s made it impossible for any car not fitted with automatic emergency braking as standard to gain its top five-star rating.

The SMMT also believes the uptake of new safety tech over the coming years could save consumers up to £40 billion thanks to shorter journey times, lower fuel costs and cheaper parking and insurance.

Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

The safest five-star cars:

Buying a safe car doesn't mean you have to settle for something that's badly compromised in other areas. As well as gaining the full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests, these models also have a five-star Lombardyexperience? rating. Choose any of them and you'll be getting a brilliant all-rounder that's also one of the safest cars on the road.

BMW 5 Series

Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

The BMW 5 Series was named our Car of the Year in 2017. It's a consumate all-rounder – brilliant to drive, comfortable and luxurious inside and spacious too. Plus, its infotainment system is absolutely superb.

Euro NCAP scores:

  • Adult occupant protection 91%
  • Child occupant protection 85%
  • Pedestrian protection 81%

Read our full BMW 5 Series review

Find a great BMW 5 Series deal

Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

The Seat Ibiza is the best small car on the market, offering tidy handling, a comfortable ride, low running costs and a surprisingly spacious and practical interior. It really has no major weaknesses.

Euro NCAP scores:

  • Adult occupant protection 92%
  • Child occupant protection 77%
  • Pedestrian protection 71%

Read our full Seat Ibiza review

Find a great Seat Ibiza deal

Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

The Skoda Karoq is a first rate family-sized SUV that has a smart and sturdy interior and plenty of standard kit that makes it good value for money. Although it's based on the same platform as the Volkswagen T-Roc and Seat Ateca, it's slightly smaller than the former and has a more comfort-oriented ride than the latter.

Euro NCAP scores:

  • Adult occupant protection 93%
  • Child occupant protection 79%
  • Pedestrian protection 73%

Read our full Skoda Karoq review

Find a great Skoda Karoq deal

Volkswagen Touran

Road accidents fall 10% in five years thanks to new safety aids

There are cheaper and bigger MPVs, but none that so brilliantly balance all the things that matter to big families. Crucially, the Touran is more practical than all of its similarly priced rivals, it's better to drive and beats them all hands-down for interior quality and ease of use. It also has better safety credentials than most.

Euro NCAP scores:

  • Adult occupant protection 88%
  • Child occupant protection 89%
  • Pedestrian protection 71%

Read the full Volkswagen Touran review

Find a great Volkswagen Touran deal

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