Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fit Collision Avoidance Technology - A Randomised Controlled Trial of Free Tech for High Risk Drivers

According to @BoschGlobal, @Mobileye and "Collision Avoidance Technologies" can prevent 70-80 per cent of all road accidents.

And, the UK auto-insurers institute (Thatcham) reported as long ago as February 2008 with the headline: "The car we could not crash".

However, today, those technologies are on less than 1% of vehicles. And, although perhaps 25% of models have these features available, they are only fitted on 10% of cars sold in Britain (Daily Telegraph Aug-2014). Despite being very cost-effective.

This is appalling, given that over 23,000 Britons are maimed or killed on our roads every year. And, according to the ABI, British drivers make over 2.5 million accident insurance claims every year. Worldwide, over 1.2 million people are killed, and 78 million maimed in road accidents, every year (Fed. Intl. Autom. | @FIAfdn).

Some 20-26% of those accidents are caused by young drivers (ages 17-24) - which means that they have a risk of crashing that is around 2 times greater than that of older drivers. And, of 15-19 year olds, the young males have a death rate from road accidents that is 3 times that of young female drivers (RAC-Fdn).

Hence, the most cost effective deployment of safety technology, for older cars, would be among that high risk group - young males and especially those who are most likely to be reckless.

Thus we should review and measure the effectiveness, and consequent cost savings, from intervening - to make safer with retrofit technology - in this high risk group.

Which could be done, using data from the police, social services, schools and driver testing, to identify a high risk individuals. Who would be randomised to be offered i) a free intervention (that is beneficial) or ii) left untreated (so as to be able to measure the relative benefits and costs).

For one technology, that is suitable for retrofitting, the current price is GBP £650 per vehicle. While this may seem quite a lot, you should bear in mind that, with a fifth of drivers crashing in their first year and a mean accident cost of perhaps GBP £2000, the technology could almost pay for itself in the first year (Daily Telegraph 2002; Daily Mirror 2012). Some hundreds of treated would be required.

CLAL (il) found that, with this tech, 17-21 year old drivers experience 45% fewer accidents (which, I think, translates into a 66% reduction in at-fault-crash-risk). And Euro-NCAP report a greater-than-54% reduction in at-fault-crash-risk from adoption of Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Do you know of a body who might like to fund the research? (Please email me

The UK research funders, that I know of, make this inappropriate - while they call for specific research that they somehow know(?) will be more helpful.