The VDA supports the German Ministry of Transport’s campaign. Turning assistants and camera-monitor systems are already available.
As the German Ministry of Transport launched its turning assistant campaign (“Aktion Abbiegeassistent”), VDA Managing Director Dr. Joachim Damasky stated:
“The German Association of the Automotive Industry welcomes the ‘Aktion Abbiegeassistent’ initiated by Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer. The VDA will give its wholehearted support to the initiative.
“Accidents still occur involving trucks and cyclists or pedestrians, especially in urban traffic. With existing mirrors, in many situations cyclists in particular are either difficult for truck drivers to see, or else are visible for only a short time. Intersections that are not clear, changing lane markings, poorly designed cycle paths and the lack of advanced stop boxes for bicycles at traffic signals regularly result in critical situations with turning trucks.
“Turning assistants can detect such hazardous situations more reliably with the aid of sensors and warn the driver. The systems are therefore able to go a long way to avoiding serious accidents. The first turning assistance systems are already available for certain German vehicles. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe is currently developing a new technical regulation for turning assistants which the EU is planning to use as the basis for making the devices mandatory. This means that in just a few years new trucks will have to be equipped with turning assistants. The German commercial vehicle manufacturers explicitly welcome and support this political initiative. Making turning assistants mandatory will be the key regulatory instrument for achieving complete market penetration of the devices.
“As well as turning assistance systems, camera-monitor systems are already available, both in new vehicles and as retrofits for vehicles already in service. They can help the driver detect other road users that are not sufficiently visible in the mirrors. These systems display the field of vision close to the vehicle on a monitor. Camera-monitor systems may provide an interim solution until turning assistants are used universally.
“It would be welcome if transport companies made more use of turning assistants and/or camera-monitor systems. The industry needs incentives for this. The German Government should therefore examine the possibility of introducing additional promotion for safety technologies.
“However, even in the long term technical solutions on their own will not prevent every single accident. For this reason, all conceivable measures must be taken to provide the best possible protection for all road users. Action is also needed in the infrastructure, which must be consistently designed for safety at critical points. Safe bike boxes or programming traffic-lights specifically for cyclists are just some examples of how safety can be increased. Road safety education must also be improved. Even more work must be done to make children and young people in particular aware of the dangers. Existing campaigns and activities in this field should be enhanced. The manufacturers will also be involved.”