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Secretary’s Scribbles

Posted on 09/04/16 |

National statistics reporting road casualties in Great Britain show an improving picture.  Although 1390 people were killed and an additional 23,140 seriously injured in the year ending June 2021, these were respectively 11% and 6% less than in the year ending June 2020.  Of course lockdowns will have impacted on the figures but the fatality rate per billion vehicle miles decreased by 6% in 2020-21 compared with 2019-20.  In other words the decrease in fatalities is only partially associated with the reduction in road traffic (-5%) during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vehicle safety is also improving.  This has been demonstrated recently in ratings of new cars on the market in 2022 by Thatcham Research and Euro NCAP.  Vehicles were scored on the following parameters:

  • Adult Occupant Protection – how adult passengers and drivers are protected in a collision
  • Child Occupant Protection – how children are protected in a collision
  • Vulnerable Road User Protection – vehicle technology that detects vulnerable road users, like cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians
  • Safety Assist – technology that keeps the driver safe, for example automated lane keeping systems and autonomous braking systems.

The results were as follows:



Adult Occupant Protection (%)

Child Occupant Protection (%)

Vulnerable Road User Protection (%)

Safety Assist (%)

Mercedes EQS





Nissan Qashqai





Polestar 2





Skoda Enyaq





Toyota Yaris Cross






The Adult Occupant Protection score of 96% and Child Occupant Protection score of 91% for the all-electric Mercedes were the joint highest in these categories.  Unfortunately they come with a price tag of just under £100,000.  The Nissan, available as petrol or diesel variants, is excellent value for safety, priced at around £25,000.  The Polestar, a relatively new electric brand, is described as ‘a vehicle fit for the future’.  Over-The-Air updates of this model offer potentially improved performance over the car’s lifetime.  The electric Skoda was designed to minimise damage to other vehicles in a collision and had the second highest Adult Occupant Protection score of all the cars tested.  The hybrid Toyota ‘delivered high quality safety at a low price’.

We probably don’t think about safety as much as we should when changing our car, perhaps paying more attention to the look of the vehicle and the smoothness of the drive, not forgetting the sound of the engine and the smell of the upholstery.  However, I think we should steer clear of the Renault Zoe and Dacia Spring which is also part of the Renault Group. They fared particularly badly in these safety tests.  The poor result for the Zoe is due to Renault removing the combined head and thorax airbag.  It’s strange that they have done this when they got a five star rating in 2001 by being the first manufacturer to include this feature.  Bring it back, Renault!

So, Mercedes are ahead in safety and now they have reported that their Vision EQXX electric car has run for more than 1,000km on a single charge.  That’s further than Exeter to Inverness or Liverpool to Luxembourg.  The test drive from Germany to the Cote d’Azur used the energy equivalent of just nine litres of petrol at a cost of about £14.  Things are looking up for electric vehicles.

Gary Whittle