Euro NCAP, the EU body that organises crash and safety tests on new vehicles, is to launch a Truck Safe rating scheme.

The launch is in direct response to data showing that while trucks represent only 3% of vehicles on Europe’s roads, they are involved in almost 15% of all EU road fatalities.

Euro NCAP’s future rating scheme is designed to go further and faster than current EU truck safety regulations, while also driving innovation and balancing the commercial needs of operators across Europe.

The Euro NCAP rating will ensure trucks are better equipped with life-saving technologies, particularly related to crash avoidance, vision, and aspects of post-crash rescue. 

Dr. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, said: ”Over the past 12 months, we have worked closely with vehicle manufacturers to develop the tests, and consulted with different stakeholders across Europe including distributors, hauliers, insurers, city authorities, legislators, and strategic road organisations to fully understand the complexities of making trucks and roads safer.

”The future Truck Safe rating will incentivise good safety performance in both cities and highways and allow optimisation of operational safety and cost. New regulatory requirements have forced manufacturers to increase safety performance. However, our aim is to progress towards best practice in all types of vehicle safety, rather than just meeting minimum standards. A goal we have successfully achieved with passenger cars.”

Matthew Avery, Euro NCAP director of strategy development, added: ”Accidents between trucks and vulnerable road users (VRUs) currently account for 25% of all EU fatalities; with pedestrians and cyclists accounting for over a quarter of these.

”Truck accidents vary significantly depending on the type of road environment (City or Highway) as well as the collision partner (passenger car or VRU). The new tests will emulate real world collisions and encourage manufacturers to fit collision avoidance technologies and improve driver vision. In the future, Euro NCAP will expand the programme to include crash protection as well.”

The approach taken by Euro NCAP is designed to highlight technologies that are both cost-effective and deliver on safety and allow operators to select the safest vehicle for a particular role.

Avery said: ”Road transport plays an integral and vital role in our economies. Safer roads are key to this, but it’s complex. There isn’t one solution. It’s about taking a holistic approach to making both trucks and roads safer: from driver behaviour and monitoring; to road infrastructure; to adopting assisted driving technologies currently available on cars; and looking at the structure of trucks and how they perform in accidents.

”The sooner we recognise that safety technologies on trucks lag behind those on cars, the quicker we will be able to reduce the number of fatal accidents involving trucks.”