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EU Project Safety - TechnoPro informs about electronic assistant systems


Training platform for professionals

Project brings dealership staff and experts bang up to date

STUTTGART - Assistant systems in the car, such as ESP or emergency braking assistant, can save lives. Yet many car sellers are insufficiently informed about the safety systems or do not pass on their knowledge systematically in the sales talks to the motorist. Sponsored by the EU, the project 'Safety-TechnoPro' now intends to use an internet-based training platform to target multipliers such as car sellers, workshop personnel and experts and bring them bang up to date on electronic driver assistant systems (DAS). Project partners are the University of Magdeburg, DEKRA Qualification GmbH and the three Spanish institutions of IDIADA, RACC and Centro Zaragoza. The project is also being supported by the Association of the German Motor Vehicle Trade and the German Road Safety Council.

Under the direction of the DEKRA Akademie GmbH, the test version of the website will be given a practical test from July through September 200 by selected dealerships, garages and experts in several EU countries, and the full version of the information and training system developed. 'We are hoping that car dealers, workshop personnel and experts will take a great interest in this project and submit suggestions for improvement,' says Carsten Weber, Project Manager at DEKRA Qualification GmbH. As opinion leaders in the automotive branch they would be contributing to the swifter spread of electronic driver assistant systems and to more safety on the roads. Additionally, they also receive extensive free information on the new technology which can help them every day in their negotiations.'

Technical experts are unanimous that the technical staff at dealerships and workshops as well as specialists have a central role to play in advising and informing the motorist on the potential of the electronic lifesavers. This is because the car-buying consumer only spends additional money on electronic assistant systems when he understands their function and can see a safety advantage for himself. In coming to this decision the consumer lends a lot of weight to information provided by experts. A survey conducted by Bosch revealed that 62 per cent of interviewees saw the vehicle dealer as the most important source of information when buying a car.

More recent studies and tests have shown, however, that the knowledge of multipliers on the function and potential of modern vehicle assistant systems are frequently not up to date or patchy. This means that the ability to advise and inform the consumer about the benefit of the systems is impaired. The new internet-based information and training platform is designed to enable experts to communicate the functions and safety potential of the systems to the consumer in a simple and comprehensible language.

In the lead-in phase of Safety-TechnoPro the project partners conducted two studies to determine the willingness of experts to promote the spread of assistant systems and the inclination of the end customer to use and buy such systems. The training platform picks up on the reservations of the consumer, deals with widely held prejudices and supplies important arguments in favour of the purchase of electronic driver assistant systems. And finally, it also clarifies the preconditions under which the motorist is prepared to spend money on the new safety technologies in the car.

The test version is available in several languages and can be accessed on www.safety-technopro.info/beta2. This gives an easy-to-understand description of the function, benefit, technological basis as well as application and uses of individually selected assistant systems.

For more information:

DEKRA Qualification GmbH, Carsten Weber, Handwerkstr. 15, D-70565 Stuttgart,
Tel. 0711-7861-3619, Fax -2655, Email: carsten.weber@dekra.com,
Internet: www.safety-technopro.info

More information on driver assistant systems can also be found on the campaign page of the German Road Safety Council (DVR) on www.bester-beifahrer.de.

'The new DEKRA Road Safety Report is far more than a simple compilation of data. It is intended to give politicians, transport experts and not least every motorist a set of recommendations on how statutory requirements and personal actions can lead to a greater reduction in the number of accidents involving fatalities and injured, than was previously the case', explained Dipl.-Ing. Clemens Klinke, Head of the Business Unit DEKRA Automotive and Chairman of the Management Board at DEKRA Automobil GmbH when presenting the report on 25th June at a parliamentary evening in the regional offices of Baden-Württemberg in Berlin.

In the interest of a continued increase in road safety, it is important to be active on various fronts. Apart from the measures already undertaken, such as improved rescue techniques - for example, issue of the driving licence at age17, the 0.0 ppt limit for beginner drivers, or the increased frequency of police checks for alcohol and drugs - greater focus must be placed on the vehicle itself. The equipping of new vehicles with modern electronic systems as standard equipment offers the greatest potential for avoiding accidents or reducing their severity.

However, according to Klinke, a considerable increase in safety in line with the EU Charter would without doubt also result from shortening the main inspection interval to one year once cars had been registered for eight years or more. Several studies - including the international 'AUTOFORE - Study on the future options for roadworthiness enforcement in the European Union - have come to the same conclusion. This is because one thing is undisputed: As the vehicle age increases, the frequency of faults rises dramatically due to general wear and/or a lack of maintenance. This situation also applies to safety-relevant systems which, in the interest of all road users, must function perfectly over the entire vehicle life.

As the cited AUTOFORE Study shows, in Germany alone shorter inspection intervals for older vehicles could reduce the number of road fatalities by around 200 annually. In addition, a study by the University of Cologne conducted in 2007 revealed that a swifter introduction of ESP could prevent an additional 100 road fatalities in Germany every year. Moreover, this figure would rise to 4000 if the measure applied to all the 25 EU member states. To give another example: the tail of a traffic jam is frequently noticed too late as a result of inattention or miscalculation. Many, and often particularly severe accidents, are caused by such failures. The blanket introduction of 'Predictive Safety Systems', for example the 'Predictive Emergency Braking' system (PEB) and the 'Predictive Collision Warning' system (PCW) would mean that around 350 road fatalities and almost 50,000 injured would permanently disappear from the accident statistics.

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