The Traffic Safety Column11/4/16
Safety is fundamental to the Volvo Group – it is a big part of our heritage and our identity. It is, and always will be a very important value for Volvo. I think this is most clearly expressed in our safety vision: zero accidents with Volvo Group products. And for us that means an ambition to lead the way in all our segments: on road, off road, in the city and out at sea.
Our commitment to safety can be seen in the many innovations we’ve developed over the course of our history. Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt, and chose to make it available to the whole automotive industry – which is partly why it is a universal feature of virtually every vehicle today. To this day it is still probably the single most important safety feature available, so don’t forget to use it. We also developed the world-renowned safety cab, which was and still is crash-tested in the world’s toughest safety tests. And we were the first to equip our trucks, and later buses, with a Front Underrun Protection System (FUPS), which provides protection for car occupants in frontal collisions.
This proud heritage in safety carries on to this day with innovations using active safety technology for emergency braking, detecting driver impairment, all-around visibility for excavator operators, and many others.
However none of these innovations change the fact that we are still in the midst of what can only be described as a global crisis. Road traffic accidents kill more than 1.2 million people every year, and injure many, many more. Did you know that road traffic injury is the number one cause of death of young people between 15-29, and that 90% of global road fatalities occur in low and middle income countries? Safety is clearly connected to sustainable development. Thankfully, the international community recognizes this and as of last year the UN has set a clear target on road safety in its global sustainable development goals: halve road deaths by 2020.
One thing we’ve learnt from our work within the field is that we cannot have a significant impact on safety alone. We need to work together with governments, authorities, academia, interest groups, drivers and operators – in fact all road users. And this is equally true out at sea and at construction sites. And we are indeed working continuously with many organisations, from the UN to local community groups, to take us closer to a safer future.
I believe an important part of engaging with the community is openness and transparency, which brings us back to why I’m writing here. Our aim is to give you an insight into how we work with safety. What are our main objectives and priorities, and why? Where do we see the industry heading and what will be our main challenges? We want to encourage discussions and knowledge sharing, and reach out to other individuals and organisations that are just as passionate about safety as we are.
Over the coming months, I hope to cover a range of important topics in the area of safety. For example, how will autonomous vehicles affect safety? How important is driver behaviour? I will also invite a number of experts, both from within the Volvo Group and externally, to write about their various fields of expertise.
As long as people come to harm on road, off road, in the city or out at sea, we will continue to strive towards zero accidents, and we would like to see as many people as possible involved in that journey. I hope you enjoy reading about our progress, but if there are any topics you would like to suggest, just let me know!
Safety is no accident, right? Let’s work together.