Driverless technology: reducing the risk of road accidents.

Whether you’re in a vehicle, on a bike or on foot, roads can be dangerous. Each year in the UK, tens of thousands of people are injured on the roads, many of them seriously.

However, new technology could be helping to reduce accident rates. According to research conducted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the increasing use of driver assistance systems is helping to make roads safer.

The study suggests that nearly seven out of 10 new cars in the UK are available with at least one self-activating safety feature, such as autonomous emergency braking systems, blind spot sensors and parking assistance. These systems help to mitigate driver mistakes and so reduce the risk of a wide range of accidents.

Almost 1.8 million vehicles manufactured annually are now available with warning systems designed to prevent collisions.

Over half of new cars (53.1%) are available with autonomous emergency brakes.

With these advances in vehicle safety systems, the rate of road accidents has been falling. Figures provided by SMMT show that road accidents in the UK have dropped by nearly 10% since 2012.

A 2015 report by SMMT and KPMG claimed that automated safety systems and self-driving vehicle technology could annually reduce in the number of serious accidents by 25,000 and lead to a reduction in fatalities of 2,500 by 2030.

Commenting on this trend, chief executive of the SMMT Mike Hawes 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.”

This decline in accidents is predicted to continue as car manufacturers strive to create increasingly sophisticated safety systems.