As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing the number of road accidents and casualties, Volvo is setting up a joint Traffic Accident Research Centre in China which it hopes will help contribute to road safety in the world's most populated country.

Volvo's in-house traffic accident research function is already one of the best-developed in the automotive industry. From its centre in Gothenburg, Sweden plus other local operations in the USA and Thailand, Volvo has built up a unique database of information about almost 40,000 accidents, involving more than 50,000 people.

"Our knowledge about what actually happens when the vehicle and its occupants are in a collision has been a great asset in our product development over the decades. In recent years we have focused on what happens during the final few seconds before the accident actually takes place. This has created better potential for devising preventive systems that help our customers avoid accidents in the first place," says Fredrik Arp, CEO and President of Volvo Cars.

Many of the safety innovations that Volvo has introduced have been developed from the knowledge gained by Volvo's accident research. These include deformable steering wheel and the three-point safety belt. Other examples that help avoid accidents, and reduce injuries, if an accident is unavoidable, are Volvo's WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System), SIPS (side impact protection system) and ESP electronic stability enhancement system.

There were 110,000 traffic fatalities in China in 2003. In recent years, however, there has been a reduction to just over 100,000 and Volvo hopes that its local research, in cooperation with local organisations and universities, will make a valuable contribution to help continue this downward trend.

Published : 05/11/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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