A Safer Way: Consultation on Making Britain’s Roads the Safest in the World

  • Published: Department for Transport, 2009
  • Authors: Department for Transport
  • Date Added: 24 Jun 2013
  • Last Update: 24 Jun 2013
  • Format: pdf





Key Findings:

  • Vehicle manufacturers have made significant progress during the last decade in making vehicles safer for all road users. This has helped to reduce the number of casualties and the severity of injuries from RTIs.

  • Whilst the main focus during the last decade has been to address key problems for secondary safety (i.e. protection in the event of a RTI), the significant advances in computing and sensor technologies present an opportunity to secure important casualty reductions through the implementation of advanced primary safety systems (i.e. RTI avoidance) in the longer term.

  • The UK car fleet takes around 12–15 years to turn over, and this can be noticeably longer for heavy vehicles. So it will take several years for measures being implemented now to be sufficiently widespread in the marketplace to noticeably affect casualty numbers.

  • This report looks at how the DfT can secure earlier take-up of existing technologies across the vehicle fleet, how the DfT can implement existing new technologies more quickly, and how Government can influence the development and implementation of advanced vehicles and technologies over the strategy period.

  • The UK Government cannot achieve improvements in vehicle safety on its own. Vehicle regulations are set at European level and increasingly with a global perspective, given the international nature of the automotive industry. Therefore the DfT needs to work with a broad range of partners, including the European Commission, other governments, manufacturers, fleet operators and interest groups to deliver solutions for British road users.

  • This area of primary safety vehicle technology has great potential to deliver significant road safety benefits during the lifetime of this strategy. Adopting these technologies into new vehicles quickly links closely to the climate change agenda, as they tend to add little weight.

  • DfT research in 2007 showed that passenger cars fitted with one primary safety system, ESC, are 25 per cent less likely to be involved in fatal RTIs.

  • Advanced primary safety systems are not yet widespread in the vehicle fleet, and consequently there are few real world data to demonstrate their effectiveness. In addition, much of our evidence comes from RTI data, but this does not capture instances where these systems prevented an RTI from occurring.Some examples of technologies that appear to have good safety potential are:

    • advanced braking and lane keeping systems (already available in the fleet to some extent);

    • RTI avoidance systems and Intelligent Speed Adaptation (technology available in some form and expected to be available in the short/medium term);

    • vehicle to vehicle/vehicle to infrastructure communication (technologies that can bring about additional safety benefit through enabling other systems to operate).


ESC, primary safety, strategy.


Whilst not a research article, this policy document discusses some of the important issues related to the uptake of new technologies.