Suzuki”s Swift leap in pedestrian friendly design

14 March 2005 #SMMT News

Better car design has helped halve UK road deaths in the last 30 years.

Fatalities have fallen despite a near doubling of cars on roads. But while accident statistics show we have some of the safest roads in Europe, there were still more than 3,300 deaths in the UK last year.

In the drive to make roads safer for all users, manufacturers are designing new models with an armoury of new safety features that protect more than just car drivers and their passengers. Millions of pounds are being invested in making vehicle front ends less harmful to pedestrians, if they are unfortunate enough to be hit by the car.

Models like the new Suzuki Swift show how far the industry has already come. On sale from April, the Japanese supermini won a coveted three star rating for pedestrian safety in recent EuroNCAP crash tests. The result reflects its lightweight, energy-absorbing body structure built on a completely new platform, as well as much closer work with EuroNCAP to improve crashworthiness.

Of course, designing safer cars is not just a question of damage limitation – far better to prevent an accident happening in the first place, particularly for those walking or cycling.

Here too, the new Swift shows a strong hand. Active safety features include a host of braking technologies in the form of four-wheel ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.

These sort of features are not reflected in NCAP crash tests. Nevertheless, they are helping drivers of models like the new Swift, and other road users to stay where they belong – as far apart as possible.

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