Side Defender II is designed to decrease incident rates involving bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (VRUs) through active VRU warnings and visual displays.
“Receiving KBA certification has made it possible for commercial vehicles to now use the Side Defender II retrofit and CAN-based systems in Germany,” said Tom Loutzenheiser, PRECO’s vice president of business development. “Meeting all German Abbiegeassistent (blind spot) side turn assist qualifications, Side Defender® I can detect moving VRUs in the driver’s blind spot accurately and reliably in crowded urban environments.
“Germany and the KBA have high standards, and as one of the first to pass the functional requirement testing, this type-approval shows our solution can make a difference in improving on-road VRU safety.”
Over 9,499 people are killed each year on urban roads in the European Union (EU), according to European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) 2019 research, and 70% of road deaths in European cities are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
In Germany, a Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) 2018 report on “Accidents with Right Turning Trucks” found 92% of accidents caused by right turning trucks involve bicyclists, while pedestrians make up the remaining 8%.
Large on-road trucks and buses pose a threat to bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and others in smaller vehicles. Recognizing the issue, Germany is leading vehicle and VRU safety standards in the EU, working on adding to current regulations and modifying specifications to apply to new and existing vehicles alike.
Promoting the implementation of side turn assistance systems to improve awareness for operators and safety for VRUs on the road, Germany has begun providing subsidies as part of the “Aktion Abbiegeassistent” campaign. Put in place by Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) last year, the campaign outlines the functional specifications systems must meet to qualify for subsidies. To qualify, systems are required to hold national type-approval from the KBA. As well as accurately detect and warn the driver of moving bicyclists within defined areas of interest while ignoring stationary objects to qualify.
KBA ensures all EU vehicle requirements are met within Germany. The authority grants type-approval for vehicles and vehicle components following national and international statutory regulations. For KBA type-approval, a company must verify its legitimacy, demonstrate how production meets quality standards, and substantiate how obligations will be fulfilled as future type-approval holders.
Side Defender II retrofit and CAN-based systems now are KBA certified and eligible for subsidies for vehicles of 3.5 tonnes (3.9 tons) and greater in Germany.
“There has been a global-awakening to the necessity of technological solutions capable of minimizing on-road incidents, especially those involving VRUs in the EU,” said Matt Wood, PRECO’s vice president of global sales. “It is evident there is a need for a reliable solution like Side Defender II, which alerts the driver whenever a VRU enters a truck’s side blind zone to avoid collisions when making a passenger-side turn.”