IRU Position on Road Safety related Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Unanimously adopted by the IRU Commission on Road Safety (CSR) in Brussels, Belgium, on 1 October 2013. Clarification on the role of the driver and ADAS while operating a vehicle.


In recent decades vehicle manufacturers and their system suppliers have made great efforts to improve vehicle technology and traffic safety. One of the major improvements has been the introduction of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

1. Definition Advanced Driver Assistance Systems have been designed to help the driver in the driving process with the aim of improving road safety. These supporting systems constantly monitor the vehicle surroundings as well as driving behaviour to detect potentially dangerous situations at an early stage. In critical driving situations these systems warn and actively support the driver and, if necessary, intervene automatically in an effort to avoid a collision or to mitigate the consequences of an accident. Examples of these systems are Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems, Lane Departure Warning Systems, Collision Avoidance Systems, Night Vision, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Detection, Driver Drowsiness Detection, to name but a few.

2. Impact of ADAS on road safety Bearing in mind the findings of the ETAC study, which highlight that 85% of all accidents are caused by human error, it is certainly the right approach to support the driver in the driving process. When analysing the potential of ADAS from a road safety perspective, several scientific studies have been conducted. Some of the results follow:
 An autonomous emergency braking system which is able to detect moving and stationary vehicles and obstacles can warn the driver and perform a braking manoeuvre autonomously could prevent up to 12% of all truck accidents;
 The safety potential of a “turning-assistant system” and an intelligent rear view system accounts for 5% of avoided accidents related to all truck accidents.  Detailed analysis reveals that this amount covers 70% of all truck accidents with vulnerable road users; and
 The potential safety benefit of a Lane Departure Warning System was determined to be up to 2%. This small share nevertheless covers one third of all truck accidents caused by lane departures. It should, however, also be noted that the ADAS can have certain negative effects on road safety. It can lead to:
 Reduction in drivers’ awareness - this means that drivers drive less carefully as they rely on the integrated systems and believe that these systems will solve any critical situation;
 “Accepted risk” behaviour - which means being aware of driver assistance systems, drivers tend to take more risks, compensating for the original safety gain; and  Driver information overload - the driver is overloaded by, or gets used to, warning messages and does not react appropriately. Bearing in mind that more in depth research is needed on the man machine interface, overall it can however be concluded that ADAS helps to improve road safety and the IRU has in fact called on credible partners involved in the promotion of road safety to introduce on a voluntary basis, and before they become mandatory, proven effective active and passive safety systems.

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