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Top Drivers Support eSafety Systems for Saving Lives

Publication date: 31 May 2011

Press Release
Teesdorf, Austria
31 May 2011


Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel at the eSafety Challenge 2011

In a spectacular demonstration of the capabilities of eSafety technologies, Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour winner Tom Kristensen, former F1 driver Alexander Wurz and Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli took part in the eSafety Challenge 2011 at ÖAMTC in Teesdorf, on the outskirts of Vienna today (31 May).

The drivers demonstrated the effectiveness of a range of innovative safety technologies including Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which stabilises the car in a skid, Warning and Emergency Braking Systems which slow the car automatically in the case of an impending impact and Motorcycle ABS.
Jean Todt, President of the FIA and eSafetyAware, said “Every time we step into a car we run the risk of a life threatening incident. As in motorsport, we need all the help we can get from technology to compensate for human errors”. He continued, “It is vital that those most at risk, in particular families and young people, understand the tremendous impact eSafety systems can have on safer driving”.


The conclusions of a comprehensive study of car user’s acceptance of eSafety Technologies, carried out by eSafety Challenge in 10 European countries were also presented at the event.


The study found that although some 80% of respondents had at least found themselves in a dangerous traffic situation at one time or another, and yet only half of them were willing to pay extra to have these technologies fitted into their car.


Werner Kraus, President of FIA Region I and ÖAMTC said “The study shows that familiarity with these life-saving technologies is on the rise with awareness levels 10% greater in 2011 than two years ago - but Europe’s car buyers are still not purchasing eSafety systems in sufficient numbers. Thousands more lives could be saved if these systems were widely used.”


Devices such as ESC which is to be compulsory in all new cars as from 2012, have the potential to save 4,000 lives and 100,000 injuries annually alone in Europe. In Germany, an Allianz study shows that as much as €330 million could be saved by preventing small rear impact accidents and that almost three out of four rear impact accidents with injuries and fatalities could be avoided with the 100% introduction of Advanced Emergency Braking Systems.


Despite these findings, many businesses are still allowing employees to drive company cars that are not fitted with these life-saving eSafety systems.



- Dangerous Traffic Situations: Although, 80% of respondents had at least found themselves in a dangerous traffic situation at one time or another, but only a third of the drivers questioned were aware of Speed Alert, also known as road sign recognition, a technology that could prevent them from getting embroiled in a similar situation in the future.

- Purchasing Criterion: Safety is the number one purchasing criterion, followed closely by fuel consumption and running costs. eSafety systems rated of highest importance were Electronic Stability Control, Advanced Emergency Braking Systems and Adaptive Headlights.

- Awareness: 64% of drivers recognised the existence of Speed Alert, with ESC a close second with 62%. Men were notably more aware of the majority of eSafety technologies, with 28% more males declaring themselves familiar with Lane Support Systems than women.

- Differences across countries: 89% of German respondents are aware of ESC, while in the UK only 41% of drivers questioned knew of it, a swing of 45%. Of some concern was that only 28% of Italian drivers and 27% of UK respondents were aware of Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Support respectively.

- Willingness to Pay: Despite drivers’ awareness of Speed Alert, rather puzzlingly only 33% of those questioned said that they would be prepared to pay for it. ESC came out on top with 67%, with Adaptive Headlights in second place with 59% of drivers indicating that they would be willing to pay for it.


 - In 2009 no technology scored more than 44%, but two years later ESC, Automatic Emergency Braking Systems and Blind Spot Monitoring (in addition to newcomer Adaptive Headlights) saw more than half of those questioned express a willingness to pay for them.

Notes to editors


How the study was carried out


The study report largely focused on personal ratings of car selection criteria and awareness of certain eSafety systems - technologies that have the potential to dramatically reduce the number of road accidents and deaths - and was carried out in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. The study was carried out by IMK and eSafetyAware.


eSafety refers to vehicle technologies that can assist the driver in an emergency situation and by providing vital information and warnings to help avoid the situation occurring. The systems improve car occupants’ safety, helping the driver make the right decisions and remain in control of the car by informing, advising and alerting the driver about dangerous situations.


eSafety takes an integrated approach:  interactions between the driver, the vehicle and the road environment must be addressed together in the effort to increase road safety; all three of these factors are equally important in tackling the high number of deaths and injuries on roads worldwide.

The eSafety Challenge event aims to increase the awareness of both policy makers and the public of the benefits of eSafety systems and their potential to save lives on road through their increased deployment.

The eSafety Challenge project is co-funded by the European Commission, the FIA, FIA Foundation and eSafetyAware (39 organisations representing a wide range of automotive stakeholders). The key eSafety applications promoted by the eSafety Challenge are: Electronic Stability Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Support Systems, Speed Alert, Warning and Emergency Braking Systems, Adaptive Headlights

For further information and to download the research please consult : 

FIA Region I and OAEMTC President Werner Kraus, Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, former F1 driver Alexander Wurz,  FIA President, Jean Todt, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour winner Tom Kristensen, and Moto GP rider Marco Simoncelli

ESC tested by Sebastian Vettel at the event in Teesdorf.

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