50 years of studying real accidents to improve road safety

This year marks the 50th anniversary since Volvo Trucks’ Accident Research Team began to systematically gather, analyse and act upon in-depth information about real-life traffic accidents. The knowledge gained provides unique value in the development of safety systems and future vehicle designs, with the objective of making trucks and transport safer.

Accident Research Team

1.35 million people die globally in traffic each year. “We work for the safety of all road users, both inside and outside our trucks. Our vision is zero accidents. There is no other alternative,” says Anna Theander, Accident Research Team Leader (right), standing together with Anna Wrige Berling, Traffic and Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks (left).

The Accident Research Team’s (ART) work focuses on improving both active and passive safety for Volvo trucks. Research into passive safety is designed to minimize the consequences of any accident, and active safety means avoiding or mitigating accidents. Understanding how traffic accidents occur, by deeply investigating actual incidents, can help prevent accidents from happening again and protect human lives.

“Every year 1.35 million people are killed globally in traffic accidents. This is something we take very seriously,” explains Anna Wrige Berling, Traffic and Product Safety Director at Volvo Trucks. “Investigations by the Accident Research Team contribute valuable insight which ultimately helps give truck drivers a safer working environment and improve traffic safety for all road users. In addition, the work supports our safety vision that there should be no accidents involving Volvo trucks.”

Accident Research Team

By investigating actual accidents and carry out analyses, the Accident Research Team can understand how accidents occur. This information can then be used in the development of safety systems.

Real-life accidents, to supplement planned crash tests
“Safety has been a core value at Volvo since the company was founded,” comments Anna Theander, the Accident Research Team Leader. “And in 1969 the Accident Research Team was created to investigate real-life traffic accidents. The objective was, and still is, to make traffic safer by using this information to improve future vehicle design.”

Today, the Accident Research Team is a cross-disciplinary safety research network of safety experts. They create and share unique insights about the causes of real-life accidents – adding to the knowledge gained from laboratory crash tests. In addition, the team uses data analysis of national and regional traffic statistics to gain even deeper understanding.

Accident Research Team

“The deep knowledge that the ART attains serves as valuable safety input and guidance for our product development teams,” explains Anna Wrige Berling. “Although the ART does not by itself develop safety systems, our safety experts’ understanding of complex accident scenarios gives the product development teams additional competence and confidence to create solutions that go beyond what was initially thought to be required.”

Learning from history to help the future
"For 50 years, the Accident Research Team has been learning from the past by investigating accident sites to feed crucial safety information to our product developers," states Anna Theander. "And looking to the future, the insights that the ART holds will continue to contribute to Volvo Trucks further work to proactively improve road safety, for traditional human driving as well as for new autonomous vehicles.”

Related News

Volvo FH with I-Save becomes even more efficient, saving up to 10 percent

The Volvo FH with I-Save is now being launched in an even more fuel-efficient version that can cut fuel costs by up to ten percent. This marks a significant improvement of three percentage points on the previous generation.


Volvo’s bus plant in Borås solely powered by renewable energy

Volvo’s bus plant in Borås has now become one of the first bus production facilities that relies solely on renewable energy. All the energy that the factory uses comes from renewable sources, such as hydropower and biofuels. The factory’s overall ...

Volvo Buses launches all-new double-decker for express operations

Volvo Buses is expanding its range of award-winning tourist and long-distance coaches with the launch of an all-new double-decker. The Volvo 9700 DD is the next step in the development of the Volvo 9700 and Volvo 9900 long-distance coaches, and it ...