The adverse publicity surrounding bull bars has prompted many fleets - including HSS Hire Services, DHL and the RAC - to ban them from their vehicles. The Association of Car Fleet Operators and the European Union wants legislation to outlaw them.
The new TRL research however, suggests that instead of causing some 35 additional fatalities and 350 serious casualties, bull bars actually only account for two or three additional deaths and 40 casualties a year. Intended to obtain data on real world bull bar incidents as opposed to impact tests simulating such accidents, the report examined more than 250 accidents - the majority involving vehicles equipped with bull bars colliding with pedestrians or riders of two-wheeled vehicles. It estimated that the banning of bull bars would result in 6% fewer fatalities and 21% fewer serious casualties - resulting in a saving of £5.5 million.