Towards zero accidents

Traffic safety as a guiding star since 1927
Road accidents are one of the world’s major public health problems. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million are injured in traffic every year. Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of death among young people in many parts of the world. We are dedicated to using our expertise to create safer vehicles and traffic environment for everyone – traffic safety is our guiding star.

Dedicated action can improve traffic safety

Safety has been a a guiding star for the Volvo Group since 1927. We are committed to continuing to develop safer trucks and buses. This ambition applies equally to construction equipment, marine engines and all other products from the Volvo Group. We cooperate with authorities, organizations and individuals that share our dedication to safety. Together we can make a real difference.

We are convinced that traffic accidents can be dramatically reduced. In the EU, for instance, the number of fatalities in traffic has declined by approximately by 50% since 1990 and safer vehicles have been a major contributing factor.

Vision: Zero accidents with the Volvo Group's products

Our ultimate goal is zero accidents with the Volvo Group's products. While we cannot guarantee that a bus or truck from the Volvo Group will never be in an accident, we are developing systems that prevent accidents from happening in the first place and reducing the consequences if an accident does occur.

One of the most common causes of traffic accidents is drivers not paying attention. Finding ways of reducing the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue or inattention can have a large impact. Driver Alert Support is a mechanism that monitors and analyzes a truck driver's lane-keeping behavior and kicks in when the driver shows signs of being tired.

One of the most common causes of traffic accidents is drivers not paying attention. Finding ways of reducing the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue or inattention can have a large impact.

The Volvo Group Internal Safety award

The Volvo Group Product and Traffic Safety Committee instituted an Internal Safety award in 2010 to further strengthen the focus on safety as a core value and to strive to maintain our position as the world leader in safety.

The aim is to encourage and motivate the companies to be creative in the area of product and traffic safety, to stimulate research and development in new safety features, to promote safety communication and to emphasize the importance of continuously working on improving safety.

The Brazilian Transform program was awarded the prize in 2010, for its 20 years of efforts in preventing accidents involving truck drivers. In 2011, a group of Japanese and Swedish specialists working with crash testing received the award.

Traffic Accident Research Team

If an accident occurs, our products are built to reduce the consequences. Volvo Truck’s Traffic Accident Research Team has investigated accidents on-site for 40 years, building up a unique bank of knowledge and experience from more than 1,500 accidents.

These experiences combined with our own research and test programs have given us solid insight into the causes of accidents and injuries — and what can be done to prevent them.

Preparing for a Decade of Action for Road Safety

The Volvo Group strongly supports the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim 2011–2020 a Decade of Action for Road Safety, which aims to save five million lives over a ten-year period. We believe that traffic safety needs to be prioritized on the international agenda.

In Europe, we strongly support ambitious targets for reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 2020. We advocate a goal of reducing road deaths by at least 50% between 2010 and 2020.

The Volvo Group is active in the development of an international Road Traffic Safety Management System (ISO 39001). This is a voluntary tool, complementary to legislation, and can be used by all organizations that directly or indirectly use roads. The ultimate goal is the elimination of deaths and serious injuries in the road transport system.

Stimulating debate and discussion to change attitudes

The human factor is decisive in more than 90% of traffic accidents. Tired or distracted drivers or those under the influence of alcohol represent a major part of the problem. Speed and not using seat belts are significant factors. The most advanced safety technology cannot fully compensate for shortcomings in drivers’ attitudes and behavior.

We cooperate with different stakeholders on safety-awareness issues like alertness, use of safety belts, alcohol and speed.

One example is driver training. In India, for instance, at least two customer drivers are trained for every Volvo truck sold. Drivers need to pass a test to qualify for the training program. More than 23,000 Indian drivers have been trained to date. Training segments include Sense of Responsibility, Fuel Efficient Driving and Traffic Safety.

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations are financing a competence center on Road Safety & Urban Transport Planning in New Delhi. This center explores a wide range of transportation issues, from increased safety for pedestrians to traffic planning and policy-making.

Volvo do Brasil founded the Volvo Traffic Safety Program in Brazil in 1987 to reduce the number of road accidents. The program has involved thousands of people and is based on conferences, symposiums, seminars, training for professional drivers and interaction with schools, cities and communities.

The Safe & Sober campaign aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in Europe that are caused by drunk driving. One third of the 40,000 fatal road accidents in Europe every year are directly linked to alcohol.

Continued support for Safe & Sober

The Safe & Sober campaign is run by the independent, non-profit European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) with active support from Volvo Trucks. The campaign focuses primarily on politicians, opinion leaders, safety organizations and the transport industry.

The aim is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in Europe that are caused by drunk driving. One third of the 40,000 fatal road accidents in Europe every year are directly linked to alcohol.

A series of debates known as the "Safe & Sober Talks" were held in selected member states throughout Europe in 2010. As part of the campaign, the Volvo Group and ETSC also aim to identify and support good practices and carry out training programs and information activities.

Making machines intelligent

The Volvo Group is a leading actor in the development of intelligent heavy-duty vehicles. The welfare of human beings is paramount in everything we do. The human perspective is in focus also when we develop solutions based on modern communication and information technology.

We have worked hard to develop vehicles that can "see" — for example, by detecting lane markers and obstacles. The next step is to make the vehicles "talk". Many accidents could be prevented if vehicles on the road could communicate with each other and with infrastructure.

Intelligent Cooperative Systems increase the quality and reliability of the information available to drivers about the immediate surroundings. Road operators benefit from cooperative systems by receiving information about the vehicles, their position and road conditions. This will lead to a safer and more efficient use of our roads.

Intelligent Cooperative Systems have already been implemented in some of our research trucks.

Tomorrow’s technology in Volvo trucks today

Cooperative systems are still mainly at the research and demonstration stage. We believe that we will ultimately see full-scale systems in some parts of the world. This technology will open up new ways of travelling, such as vehicles that can drive themselves in long road trains on motorways.

Driving in a close formation convoy would improve traffic flow and journey times, offering greater comfort to drivers, reducing accidents and improving fuel consumption, and hence lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

The EU-financed SARTRE project conducted the first demonstration of its technology at the Volvo Proving Ground outside Gothenburg, Sweden in early 2011. The test conducted included a lead truck from Volvo Trucks and a single following car. While the technology is well underway, there is still much to do in order to gain public acceptance and produce the necessary legislation.

Promoting new technology with EuroTra Safety and Innovation Award

Volvo Trucks together with the European Transport Training Association (EuroTra) awarded the Safety and Innovation Award to Shell Chemicals and Bertocco. The companies had jointly developed a system that can simply and effectively help to reduce the risk of truck roll-over accidents. Volvo Trucks wants to encourage good ideas that may help to improve traffic safety.

Did you know?

Volvo Truck’s Traffic Accident Research Team has investigated accidents on-site for 40 years, building up a unique database of knowledge and experience from more than 1,500 accidents.