In the US there are 840,000 blind spot accidents each year, and an estimated 300 people are killed as a result of HGV blind spots. Many of these deaths could be avoided by installing devices such as cameras and sensors.
According to research carried out by the World Health Organization, almost half of all deaths on the road are made up of vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. These are innocent victims who, all too often, have become momentarily invisible to drivers whose mirrors cannot cover every angle around their vehicles.
Safety experts are calling for companies to reassess their safety equipment for large vehicles after recent research carried out in the US proved that blind spot warning systems significantly decrease the chance of accidents or injury-related crashes by up to 21%.
Research, undertaken by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzed more than 5,000 accidents in 2015 and compared results with two similar studies focused on trucking fleets in the US, and Volvo cars in Sweden. From these studies, it was shown that in the US alone more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented if all vehicles had been equipped with blind spot or collision avoidance technology.
Road safety charities, campaigners and industry experts have been trying to solve traffic hazard issues for vulnerable road users for years and, while many point towards improving driver awareness and adjusting road layout by installing dedicated cycle tracks, blind spots and difficult maneuvers, such as backing-up, are still a major cause of death and injury for pedestrians and cyclists.
There has been much debate about the value of blind spot mirrors, with many arguing that in some cases they can actually create a new blind spot. Research has also shown that in the time it takes to scan four mirrors, assess and then react to hazards, even at speeds of 3mph a vehicle could travel as far as 33 feet.
Statistics published by the NHTSA revealed that 818 cyclists died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015. Earlier this year, Californian cyclist Eric Fishbein died after a collision on highway 96 in West Kansas as he rode the 4,300 mile Trans Am bike rice.
Corey Heniser, who is an expert on vehicle safety at Brigade Electronics US, – a leading global supplier of camera monitoring systems and vehicle safety solutions – said:
“Hundreds of unnecessary deaths could be prevented every year if blind spot technology was mandatory on commercial vehicles.”
“The UN World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations has been championing road safety globally for 50 years, but more still needs to be done to protect vulnerable road users.”
Earlier this year the Flemish government in Belgium announced a major boost to road safety in the region and will be providing generous subsidies for transporters who invest in safety measurements that go beyond the requirements of the law. Corey believes that following their lead would make road safety better for everyone.
“The example from Belgium is a really positive step in the right direction. Pedestrians and cyclists are particularly at risk from driver blind spots. Making technology like 360º cameras mandatory would significantly improve road safety for everyone.”
Brigade Electronics is a worldwide market-leading provider of safety devices and solutions for commercial vehicles and machinery.
Brigade’s range of products works to reduce the risk of collisions and protect vulnerable road users by minimizing vehicle blind spots and assisting drivers to maneuver safely.
Brigade’s product portfolio includes the Backeye 360º, camera monitor systems, bbs-tek white sound reversing alarms, ultrasonic obstacle detection, radar obstacle detection and mobile digital recorders.