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IME report urges more gadgets for drivers

  • 19 April 2012
  • By Chris Tindall

Lorries should be fitted with hi-tech gadgets that rely on sensors to warn drivers of accident risks and eliminating blind spot deaths, according to engineers.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) believes cyclist deaths could be prevented if operators were forced to fit lasers or infra-red sensors and vibrating steering wheels – and it is calling for this to be mandatory by 2015.

In a report entitled Intelligent Transport, Intelligent Society the IME says lorries make up 5% of UK road traffic but cause 20% of all fatal accidents involving cyclists.

Its report refers to collision avoidance technology known as LATERAL SAFE, which uses sensors to tell drivers of cyclists to the rear or side of their vehicle.

And it says intelligent transport systems such as vibrating steering wheels could warn them if they are drifting across lanes or becoming drowsy.

However, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says it will take a range of measures to make roads safer.

FTA director of national and regional policy Karen Dee says: “It is important not to be fooled into believing that there is a simple, technical fix to this problem. Sharing the roads safely is a complex challenge which requires a wide mix of measures – road design and layout, journey routeing and planning and promoting training, awareness and understanding amongst all road users have an equally important role to play.”

She adds: “To focus only on one element would be to misrepresent the problem and to underestimate the range of action required to deliver the improvements we all want to see.”


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