Auto industry given safety award

* Road deaths halved in 20 years * Car occupant deaths down by 56% * Car industry recognised for safety efforts...

Auto industry given safety award

The automotive industry has won a special Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, for its contribution to road safety over the past 20 years.

Since 1989, the number of people killed and injured on the UK's roads has fallen considerably.

All road deaths have declined by 58%, and car occupant deaths have fallen by 56%. The Department for Transport largely attributes this to improved vehicle safety.

Presenting the award, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, said: 'Over the past 20 years, the automotive industry has made huge investments in the research and development of safety products.

'These systems have already saved lives and they have the potential to save millions more. Many of us take these innovations for granted, so this year I want to recognise the outstanding achievement of this industry.'

Click here to see how road deaths have fallen by road user typePaul Everitt, chief executive for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, collected the award, and said: 'On behalf of the automotive industry, I am proud to accept this award, which recognises the significant contribution the industry has made to vehicle safety.

'Today, vehicles have never been safer and vehicle manufacturers are pioneering new technologies to further improve occupant protection and reduce the risks for other road users.'

What Car? editor-in-chief Steve Fowler said: 'The car industry deserves massive credit for the work it has done to improve road safety. There's more traffic around than ever and driving standards haven't improved, so it's clear that it must be safer cars that are cutting accident figures.

'Today's cars are dynamically easier and safer to drive (yet just as much fun), while the standard fitment of airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control has brought new levels of safety to all road users and pedestrians.

'Most car buyers would tick a stereo upgrade box rather than opt for extra safety kit in their cars, so they should know exactly what the oft-criticised car industry has done to keep them and their loved ones safe.'