Ratings as interventions
The potential contribution of vehicle and road engineering measures to achieving interim national road safety targets and long term goals is very large . As levels of ambition for road safety results increase, so must the safety quality of the road and vehicle system. Safety ratings can be used as an intervention to identify, promote and encourage improved standards and designs to improve levels of crash protection in vehicles and in the road network.
For example, whereas legislation provides a long-discussed minimum statutory standard of safety for new cars, it is the aim of EuroNCAP to encourage manufacturers to exceed these minimum requirements in a short space of time. About 10 years ago, 2 star standards comprised the industry norm whereas now 4 and 5-star cars for adult occupant protection comprise the majority of new cars being offered for sale. Such ratings can also encourage manufacturers to make progress in key areas not yet covered in legislation such as the fitment of seat belt reminders or electronic stability control.
Policymakers, practitioners, fleet and car buyers, and road users all need impartial, evidence-based data to inform policymaking, for day to day road safety activity, and for purchasing and travel decisions. Car buyers, for example, need to assess the safety claims made by manufacturers made in car advertising. Relevant and impartial information allows consumers to make well-informed decisions when buying a car.
EuroRAP aims to help prevent crashes and to make those that do happen survivable. Responsible, law-abiding drivers frequently die on Europe's roads because of small errors. Safe roads minimise the chance of these situations arising, and if they do occur, they minimise the severity of the crash.