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ANCAP backs mandatory Lane Support Systems

Safety body ANCAP backs government plan to mandate LSS in all new vehicles by 2026

14 Dec 2021

ANCAP has taken to Twitter to show its support for the Australian Government’s recent release of a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) which proposes the introduction of mandatory Lane Support Systems (LSS) in all new light passenger and commercial vehicles from March 2024, and all new vehicles from March 2026.

 

The safety body says LSS technologies can reduce head-on and single-vehicle crashes by up to 30 per cent by combining camera and sensor systems that recognise lane markings and alert the driver via either audible, visual, or haptic alert if the vehicle is leaving the lane without indicating.

 

It has also indicated that it supports the adoption of Active Lane Keep Assist systems, where the vehicle automatically steers back into its lane if the driver fails to respond to alerts.

 

The RIS, which was made public this month, says that despite recent government actions to address trauma in crashes involving light passenger and commercial vehicles at both state and federal levels, the incidence of trauma suffered as a result of unintended lane departure remains unacceptably high. 

 

Alongside infrastructure improvements – including wire rope barriers to prevent run-off crashes – and ongoing education campaigns, the document says it encourages drivers to consider “new and proven vehicle technology when purchasing a new vehicle”, including LSS.

 

“There are also vehicle technologies available that can help the driver stay in their lane and are designed to prevent crashes caused by unwanted lane departure, such as Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Aid (LKA) however there are current no Australian Design Rules (ADRs) that require their fitment,” the RIS said.

 

“Since 2011, lane departure warning (LDW) and lane keep assist (LKA) have been fitted to light vehicles in Australia. Voluntary fitment in new vehicles has risen from seven per cent in 2013 to 61 per cent in 2021. 

 

“Non regulatory programs, such as ANCAP, may have influenced voluntary uptake by requiring the fitment of lane support systems to achieve a five-star rating. These could be LDW or LKA and there is no specific standard that these systems need to meet.

 

“There are different vehicle technologies, some having similar and overlapping features and some performing the same function but with different nomenclature depending on the country of origin or the vehicle manufacturer.”

 

In highlighting that point, the RIS said there was a need to formalise the testing procedure and performance of LSS technologies by including a standardised assessment of camera- and sensor-based systems through the creation of a new Australian Design Rule (ADR).

 

The RIS says the implementation of a new ADR to standardise minimum performance requirements of LSS technology across all new light passenger and commercial vehicles could provide a cost-effective means of reducing the incidences of run-off and single-vehicle crashes. 

 

It also recognises that, at the current time, the fitment of such technology remains unregulated, and that the design, performance, capability, and usability of LSS technology across vehicles sold in Australia and New Zealand can vary significantly.

 

One of the options the RIS proposes is to mandate the fitment of LSS (both lane departure warning and lane keep assist) technology to new light passenger and commercial vehicles supplied to the market due to regulation through the creation of ADR 107. 

 

The mandate would ensure Lane Support Systems default to “on” each time the vehicle is started and could only be disabled via driver intervention (in much the same way as Electronic Stability Control).

 

Currently, just 53 per cent of all new light passenger and commercial vehicles sold in Australia are equipped with some form of LSS technology, with 20 per cent of models sold offering LSS only in conjunction with a more highly specified variant.

 

The RIS says that recent research conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) shows that LSS is “very effective in reducing road trauma from crashes caused by unintentional lane departure”. 

 

The research showed a 22 per cent reduction in fatal crashes brought about by an unintentional lane departure, resulting in an 11.9 per cent reduction in light vehicle fatalities.

 

The government estimates that 11 per cent of all road crashes are caused by unintentional lane departure and can include head-on collisions, sideswipes, and single-car off-road crashes. It says these types of crashes are responsible for 55 per cent of all road fatalities, a number which increases to 72 per cent at highway speeds.

 

The impact of road trauma costs the Australian taxpayer an estimated $29 billion each year.

 

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Kevin Hogan, said LSS can help to prevent a range of crash types and could save as many as 7000 lives over the coming 35 years.

 

“Our government is committed to saving lives by improving road safety through record investments, leadership and supporting the uptake of new safety technologies,” Mr Hogan said.

 

“We are now kicking off consultations to explore the case for introducing a new mandatory standard for LSS to be installed in all new light vehicles in the Australian market, which includes passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles. 

 

“A mandate could reduce the number of fatal light vehicle crashes by 11.9 per cent, saving 6989 lives, and avoid around 23,648 serious and 7385 minor injuries over 35 years. 

“I encourage anyone interested in having their say on this vital work to make a submission by the 27 February 2022 deadline,” he added.

 

Mr Hogan invited anyone with an interest in contributing to the discussion around the mandatory adoption of LSS in new vehicles to submit their opinion before February 27.

 

ANCAP says it has actively encouraged the voluntary fitment of LSS technology across Australian and New Zealand fleets through its safety testing and star rating program since 2018, the same year LSS became one of the minimum requirements to achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

 

The introduction of LSS as an ADR requirement joins a similar move to mandate the fitment of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) in all new light vehicles sold from 2023. ADR 98/00 and 98/01 mandate that car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian AEB must be fitted to all passenger cars, off-road passenger vehicles, and light commercial vehicles sold by March 2023, and to all new vehicles sold in Australia by March 2025.


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