Flashback to 2003 – The Astonishing Volvo Safety Concept Car – Still Unmatched

First published in 2003

New Introduction

Back in 2003, Volvo built their utterly remarkable Safety Concept Car [SCC] as a test bed for a huge range of new safety technologies they were then testing, with a view to introducing the most effective and worthwhile into their production cars.  The SCC was demonstrated to the automotive media in the USA on just two days — one on the west coast and one on the east coast — and through our not-for-profit organisation, Drive and Stay Alive, I had the good fortune to be invited to attend the east coast day in Manhattan, to drive it.

In just the 15 years since then, we have gone from talking primarily just about increased safety to a now almost out-of-control rush to have self-driving vehicles before even the semi-autonomous prototypes can be shown to increase rather than decrease safety.

Photograph of the 2003 Volvo Safety Concept Car.
The 2003, $8 Million, Volvo Safety Concept Car [SCC] (Photo: Copyright 2003, Volvo Cars)
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Takata Airbag Recall: List of All Affected Vehicles (July 2018)

The Takata airbag crisis has become so huge that a big reminder is needed, so this article gives access to a list of all of the different types of vehicle affected.  Check the list for yours, today!

Photograph of a car that has just been in a collision. The airbags have inflated but are now in the process of deflating, and the car's two occupants are still in their seats, stunned.
This photo was taken no more than 2 seconds after the collision that triggered the airbags, which are now in the process of deflating. The driver and his passenger are still in the car, stunned. Possibly through distraction, the car driver had just collided with the back of a stationary truck — not an “accident,” an act of negligence; a collision. Copyright image.

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No Back Lights at Night? Blame Daytime Running Lights [DRL]

Daytime Running Lights [DRL] commonly only illuminate the front lights of a vehicle, and not the rear lights. (See the photograph below.)

Usually, they also do not illuminate the dashboard lights for the speedometer and other instruments and controls.  This is intended to alert drivers to the fact that only the DRLs are operating and therefore only the front lights are on, but as most drivers have never been adequately informed about this scenario, many just assume that there is a fault with the dashboard lights and drive on, unaware of the danger they are causing for themselves and others.

Photograph of a vehicle displaying frontal "Daytime Running Lights" (DRLs) but no rear lights -- a potentially very dangerous situation, especially in heavy rain or fog, where visibility is reduced.
A regrettably common sight in North America:  A vehicle running on Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), where the driver sees light at the front and assumes that all lights are on, but DRLs have less power than low-beam headlights and typically only operate the front lights and not the tail lights. This creates significant danger from behind, especially in heavy rain or foggy conditions that reduce visibility. Usually, the dashboard instruments are also unlit — and this is intended as a clue for the driver — but as drivers have not been adequately educated about many aspects of safe driving, many just drive on, oblivious to the danger they are causing. (Copyright image.)

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Tough New Safety Tests Automakers Will Have to Pass for Euro NCAP

According to EuroNCAP: “Today, during our 20th Anniversary celebrations, [we are launching our] Road Map 2025, setting out for the first time the programme’s priorities for the mobility and technological revolution the auto industry is just beginning to experience.

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The British Pushed Euro-NCAP Standards Forward but Now There’s a Problem

David Ward, the Secretary General of the Global New Car Assessment Programme, has written an excellent article outlining the history and challenges of the U.S. NCAP and Euro-NCAP that is extremely well worth reading for anyone with a serious interest in vehicle safety or in road safety in general.