German automotive parts maker Bosch announced in November its support for a global initiative to increase awareness on vehicle safety systems.
The company said in a press statement that it was taking part in the Global New Car Assessment Programme’s “Stop the Crash” campaign that is part of the United Nation Decade of Action for Road Safety’s goal of halving worldwide road-traffic deaths, currently at 1.25 million people killed every year, by 2020.
“For Bosch, every traffic fatality is one too many,” said Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management. “With our technologies, we can protect human life around the world.”
ESP as essential safety device
The 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) Global Status Report on Road Safety said electronic stability control or electronic stability program (ESP) is the most important device in helping avoid a crash and should be mandatory in all vehicles around the world.
ESP uses a collection of sensors, along with a vehicle’s anti-lock brakes and traction control, to prevent a vehicle from skidding out of control because of understeer or oversteer.
Bosch said the device has helped prevent 195,000 crashes and has saved 6,000 lives since the company introduced it in Europe in 1995. Since November 1, 2014, ESP has been mandatory for all newly registered cars and light commercial vehicles (up to 3.5 tons) in the European Union.
The WHO report also said only 46 of the UN’s 195 member-states mandate ESP for new cars. These countries are mostly high-income countries like Australia, the United States, Canada, South Korea and Japan. The Philippines currently does not require new cars sold here to have the device, although it is part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Automatic braking system can completely avoid a crash
Bosch also said its automatic braking system have helped to prevent crashes or, at higher speeds, even mitigate the impact forces. It works by applying the brakes partially or fully when radar or video sensors detect a vehicle in front and the driver does not slow down. The company said its system can completely prevent rear-end crashes with stationary vehicles at up to 40 kilometers per hour and, in Germany, could reduce rear-end crashes by up to 75 percent.
In the Philippines, the system is available mostly with high-end carmakers like Volvo. The cheapest car on sale with this feature is the recently updated, top-specification Ford Focus worth P1.278 million (which Fast Times drove in early November this year) that comes standard with Active City Stop.
Bosch also said its motorcycle anti-lock braking system (ABS) could prevent up to one-fourth of all fatal motorcycle crashes. Much like ABS in cars, the system prevents wheels from locking up under hard braking, thus making the motorcycle more difficult to control.
Many countries around the world – excluding the Philippines, where there were five motorcycles for every car on the road in 2014 – mandate these in newly registered motorcycles. Using Bosch’s estimate, motorcycle ABS could have spared around 200 Filipinos who were killed in road-traffic crashes involving two- or three-wheeler vehicles in 2013, according to data from the WHO report.
Locally, only high-end motorcycle manufacturers like BMW and Ducati offer motorcycle ABS as standard equipment. Bosch said it is currently working on developing ABS that could be economically fitted to sub-250-cubic centimeter motorcycles, which are especially popular in developing countries like the Philippines.