Fleet News

Companies wooed in bid to improve road safety levels

FLEET operators are expected to play a vital role in a nationwide effort to boost road safety levels.

Bosch, one of the world’s leading car components supplier, is hoping to persuade decision-makers in the business transport sector to regard anti-skid equipment as a ‘must have’ feature on choice lists in future.

The company, which builds 18,000 electronic stability programme (ESP) systems every working day at its factories in Europe, the US and Asia, was among the first to sign up to the Road Safety Charter launched last year with the aim of cutting deaths on EU roads by 50% over the next five years.

UK chassis systems marketing manager David Fulker said: ‘ESP is a significant safety feature irrespective of road conditions and there’s no doubt it will make a big contribution to the charter’s goal of saving 25,000 lives by 2010 because it helps drivers avoid the side impact collisions that result from skidding.

‘In relation to Britain, widespread adoption of ESP holds the potential to save 2,000 lives during the period, so we’re putting a lot of effort into making people more aware of the safety benefits this system can bring.’

Research commissioned by Bosch shows that only one per cent of British new car buyers cite ESP when asked about safety equipment on vehicles.

Fulker said: ‘That’s a particularly low start point, but it’s significant that only 18% of buyers know about anti-lock braking systems, which were invented 20 years ago and are now fitted as standard on every car built in Europe.

‘It just illustrates the amount of work we have to do. The problem is not that the equipment is being withheld by the car manufacturers – it’s just getting people educated about it benefits.

Fleet NewsNet revealed the company had established eight special training centres across Britain to demonstrate the benefits of ABS, traction control and ESP – and that it is now ready to make the facilities available to the fleet industry as part of its education programme.

He added: ‘Unlike most European markets, the UK fleet sector represents a huge proportion of annual car sales and we believe we should start talking to the major user groups.

‘We are keen to seek their views and establish how serious they are about road safety as part of the new duty of care regulations. We can talk as much as we like about ESP, but the best way we can demonstrate its advantages in real-life situations is to get out on to the test tracks.’

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