Safety systems in cars spread at different speeds

Despite the growing volume of traffic, the number of fatalities and serious injuries is decreasing in many countries. For example, the number of road deaths in Germany has fallen.From over 100 per 100,000 cars per year since the 1970s to less than ten per 100,000 cars per year. This is due not only to restrictions imposed by legal regulations, but above all to the modern safety equipment of the vehicles. To this day, for example, the seat belt is still considered the number one life saver. But it was only with the rapid development of electronics that new safety features were added at ever shorter intervals.

There is now an almost unmanageable range of components and assistance systems that make driving safer. From airbags, ABS and ESP to collision warning systems and lane departure warning systems. But how has the number of safety-relevant features changed in recent years? JATO Dynamics has taken a look at how quickly some of the most important safety features have found their way into series production.

The airbag had established itself relatively quickly in the German market. Introduced in 1981, 20 years later a large number of new vehicles were already equipped with so-called front airbags and side airbags for driver and front passenger. In 2000, the standard installation rate for front airbags was 93 percent. By 2019, this figure will rise to 98 percent.

Gradually, the quality of the life-savers was improved and further versions such as roof or knee airbags were added. However, the spread of these has been quite different. While at the beginning of the decade the proportion was just six percent for roof airbags fitted as standard and only one percent for knee airbags, by 2019 the figures had risen to 79 and 36 percent respectively.

Two out of three new passenger cars have a collision warning system on board as standard

The so-called collision warning system developed in a similar way to the airbag. Initially, the driver was warned visually and/or acoustically when a collision was imminent. Thanks to further developed technology, the vehicle now brakes automatically if the driver does not react in time. In 2009, just two percent of all vehicles registered in Germany were equipped with a collision warning system as standard. By 2019, this figure had risen to 65 percent, with an optional extra for a further 20 percent. Only 15 percent of passenger cars were not offered this feature. By the way: since 2014, all newly registered trucks must be equipped with an emergency braking system as standard.

Similar to the collision warning system, the lane change assistant has become increasingly common in new cars over the last ten years. Here too, systems have developed from pure warning by visual, acoustic or haptic signals to actively intervening vehicles. In 2009, this system was not even available as standard. In 2019, only ten percent of newly registered vehicles were equipped with it as standard, and 55 percent were offered as optional equipment. Improvements in safety technology have made a significant contribution to preventing serious accidents. The automotive industry therefore remains very committed to ensuring that this positive trend continues in the future. It can be assumed that the proportion of vehicles with state-of-the-art safety technology will continue to rise.

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