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Report numberRA-2007-109
TitleSafety enhancing vehicle technology for heavy duty vehicles
SubtitleOverview, description and technical aspects of safety technology for trucks and coaches
AuthorsTobias Denys
Gerwin Zomer
Joost Schafrat
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages36
Date26/01/2007
ISBN
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek
Work packageOther: Vehicle technology
Summary

This literature study focuses on heavy duty vehicles: trucks with a total weight of more than 3500 kg (vehicle + load), and coaches for more than 8 passengers. Research indicated that coaches are predominantly very safe vehicles. Due to the design and the use of coaches, these vehicles are far safer than all other modes of road transport. Nevertheless, these researches also pointed out that in case of an accident, in which a coach is involved, the numbers of casualties are generally higher. With respect to trucks it was noted that these vehicles are not involved more frequently in accidents than other vehicles. However, as a result of their vehicle characteristics they cause more serious injury, especially to other, more vulnerable, road users.

 

The report provides an overview of current and future vehicle techniques that enhance protection for heavy vehicle occupants. Examples of these are airbags, seat belts and safety cages but also stability programmes, adaptive cruise control and others. Furthermore, this report provides examples of techniques that enhance the safety of heavy duty vehicles to other, more vulnerable road users, like pedestrian protection. Preceding the overview of techniques is an overview of the current legislation involving heavy vehicles.

 

The largest part of accidents with heavy vehicles can be traced back to human failure. Between one tenth and one fifth of these accidents is caused by driver fatigue. Therefore a relatively simple and highly effective measure concerns the enforcement of the obliged driving hours. If there are any casualties amongst the victims involved in these accidents, this is mostly the consequence of not wearing a seat belt. Another relatively simple measure consists of an intensified control on the mandatory seat belt usage amongst occupants of heavy duty vehicles. Installing seat belt warning systems could have the same positive effect as with passenger vehicles. Technology which is aimed at preventing accidents, like stability programmes and emergency braking, could be stimulated via financial incentives. Other road users could be better protected when the side underrun and front underrun protection is optimized.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.

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