Mercedes-Benz safety assistance systems: Every accident is one too many

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 14, 2018

Truck safety is currently the subject of heated political debate. While some call for stricter laws, others demand a ban on the deactivation of assistance systems.

In recent months, the German media has increasingly drawn attention to severe accidents at the tail end of traffic jams and between trucks and cyclists or pedestrians. As a year-on-year figure, the actual number of accidents in Germany has remained more or less constant in inner city areas and has even fallen on motorways. For Mercedes-Benz Trucks, every one of these accidents is one too many and this is why their accident research and development staff are constantly working on developing systems to prevent accidents.

European politicians are also supporting the subject of truck safety, with an ambitious target of halving the number of road fatalities within 10 years. This led to the requirement for newly registered trucks and coaches to be equipped with automated emergency braking systems since November 2015. In November 2018 the technical requirements for such systems will be tightened. In the current revision of the directive on general vehicle safety, the EU Commission proposes, among other things, that all trucks and buses be equipped with mandatory turning assist systems from 2024.

“As soon as the technical requirements for type approval of turning assist systems have been defined, all other manufacturers must follow the example of Mercedes-Benz. We welcome this as a contribution to improving traffic safety throughout Europe,” says Dieter Schoch, responsible for commercial vehicle safety in the field of politics and external relations at Daimler.

The German government has also taken action to improve road safety. In mid-July, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer launched a nationwide campaign to promote the speedy retrofitting of existing trucks with turning assist systems. The installation of emergency braking assistance systems has been mandatory for new vehicles since November 2015, resulting in around 50 percent of long-haul transport vehicles being equipped with such a system.

Current studies in Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg demonstrate that trucks equipped with automated emergency braking systems cause significantly fewer accidents than trucks without such a system.

Mercedes-Benz conducts its own accident research, the results of which are incorporated both in the further systems development processes and in discussions with lawmakers about future legal requirements.