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Towards Zero by learning from accidents

Since 1969, the Volvo Group has had an Accident Research Team (ART) that conduct in-depth studies of accidents. This is one of the Groups most important sources of knowledge, since the results are providing input to safety programs and product development.
Deaths and injuries can never be accepted, meaning that the Group work continously to develop safer vehicles and improved services.

“Towards Zero by Learning from Accidents”. This sums up the safety philosophy of the Volvo Group. Deaths and injuries can never be accepted, meaning that the Group work continously to develop safer vehicles and improved services.

– The most effective way to take steps towards zero is to base future priorities and improvements on results from real driving and accidents. This is why the results from the accident research are so important, says Peter Wells, Manager for the Accident Research Team, ART.

He and his team conduct both on scene and retrospective accident investigations, which over the years have resulted in a large database containing the types of accident in which Volvo Trucks have been involved. From there, the team is able to focus on in-depth analyses of the accidents it investigates in order to understand for example the pre-crash, crash and post-crash phases, as well as normal driving and conflict situations.

– In order to work towards the Volvo Group vision of Zero Accidents we need to understand why accidents occur from the start. Then we can develop products and solutions that provide much earlier information to the driver in order to avoid getting into dangerous situations in the first place, says Peter Wells.

However, since accidents also involve elements that are beyond the Volvo Groups control, it is equally important to collaborate with other actors associated with the transport sector such as the transportation industry, society, authorities, other industry players, research organizations and universities. In accordance with this principle, the ART is actively seeking opportunity to exchange know-how with others and making the know-how publically available. One such example is the Volvo Accident Research Team Report**.

– We will continue to strengthen the ART, most importantly by widening the reach of this in-depth insight to more and more regions. We have for example come a long way in collaboration with Chinese authorities in this area over the last few years ***. Understanding of the local variations is crucial. We can feed this know-how into all part of our operations. For instance by making safety systems, driver trainings and awareness programs more accurate, says Peter Kronberg, Volvo Group Safety Director.