on the way towards zero accidents
VOLVO TRUCKS. DRIVING PROGRESS
ON THE WAY TOWARDS ZERO ACCIDENTS
Volvo Trucks and Traffic Safety
R SP 20100110001 English. Printed in Sweden.
“An automobile conveys and is driven by people. The fundamental principle of all design work is,
and must be, safety.”
Volvos founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson
THERE IS ONLY ONE
ACCEPTABLE NUMBER OF
INJURIES AND DEATHS
IN THE TRAFFIC
Our vision means that no Volvo truck
is to be involved in a traffic accident.
The interplay between driver, truck and
the surrounding traffic is at the heart of our
world-leading safety approach as we strive
towards an accident-free future.
In order to reach this vision new technology is required,
extended interplay between the vehicles and the surrounding traffic situation – and a more uncompromising
attitude towards traffic accidents.
All told there are about 1.2 million road accidents the
world over every year. In other words, more than 3,000
people are killed every day on roads throughout the world.
That equals ten full passenger aeroplanes.
However, since zero accidents is an established requirement in the aviation industry, the world would react with
an enormous amount of criticism if ten passenger
aeroplanes crashed in one day.
It is this attitude – that no accident is ever acceptable
– that we must implement with regard to road safety too.
Leaders in safety
For us this approach is perfectly natural. Safety is deeply
rooted at Volvo Trucks. It is part of our heritage and our
corporate culture. Our aim is to be the leaders in safety in
This is a process that encompasses much more than merely
developing some of the world’s safest trucks. We are also
a driving force in national, regional and global cooperative
projects designed to make road traffic safer.
Read more about our safety work at
THE VEHICLE AND
THE HUMAN FACTOR.
Traffic accidents are
often caused by a number
of interacting factors.
The human factor plays
a decisive role in nine out
of ten accidents.
Volvo’s comprehensive research shows that the
human factor plays a decisive role in nine out of
ten accidents. In roughly one-third of all accidents,
it is the traffic environment or the condition of
the roads that is one of the causes. In ten percent
of all cases, a fault with the vehicle is one of
the contributory factors.
Heavy vehicles are involved in relatively few accidents considering the number of such vehicles on
the roads and the large amounts of transportation
they carry out. But when a truck accident does
occur, the consequences are often serious.
Volvo’s own accident research
from 1969 onwards
Volvo Trucks’ own department for accident
research, ART (Accident Research Team) was
established as early as in 1969. Over the years
our experts have examined more than 1,500
accidents and the data from this research has
been collected in a database.
No other truck manufacturer has a database as
comprehensive as we do. All this knowledge goes
straight into the development of our new products. On this basis we have defined four main
areas prioritized to help us achieve our vision of
zero accidents as effectively as possible.
• The issue with tired drivers
• The role of alcohol in accidents
• The effect of speed on safety
• The use of seat belts
THERE IS A LITTLE
BIT OF VOLVO
IN EVERY TRUCK.
Six out of ten truck drivers who are
injured or killed in the traffic would
have suffered less severe injuries
or no injuries whatsoever if they
had used a seat belt.
Volvo invented the three-point seat belt in1959.
Volvo Trucks has long been the industry leader when
it comes to developing technologies that help protect
those involved in an accident.
It was Volvo that invented the three-point seat belt
in 1959. It is an ingenious solution that saves more
lives on the road than any other safety feature.
Not only has it been fitted as a standard feature
in our trucks for many years now – but today
the three-point seat belt is an absolute requirement
in all trucks and cars.
So, one could say that there is a little bit of Volvo in
every vehicle, irrespective of make and model.
Only one hundred percent will do
The consequences are often devastating if the seat
belt is not given the chance to perform its life-saving
duty. Our accident research shows that six out of
ten truck drivers injured or killed on the roads would
have suffered lighter injuries or walked away entirely
unscathed if they had been using their seat belts.
A study conducted by the Swedish Transport Administration leads to even more dramatic conclusions:
of the 20 unrestrained truck drivers killed in Sweden
between 2005 and 2009, 19 would have survived
if they had been using their seat belts.
The figure for seat belt usage is on the rise.
However, in spite of this, the average in the EU is
not even as high as 50 percent. We, at Volvo Trucks,
will not be fully satisfied until all commercial vehicle
drivers make proper use of their best and most easily
accessible life insurance system; the seat belt.
The safest place
for the truck driver
•Seat belts and belt reminders are standard in all our trucks.
•With a structure made of high-strength steel and an energy-absorbing interior, the Volvo cab is one of the safest
places for a truck driver to be.
•Half of all those who are injured or
killed in accidents involving trucks are drivers and passengers in cars.
In order to minimise the consequences of a head-on collision between a car
and truck, we introduced front underrun protection in our trucks as early as
in 1996. A solution that seven years
later became a legal requirement throughout the EU.
WITH A TRUCK THAT OFFERS
YOU A HELPING HAND.
We participate in research projects in which our trucks are equipped with
systems and cameras that register every second of the vehicle’s progress.
The aim is to study in detail all the situations that may lead to accidents.
Focus on tiredness and distraction
A tired and distracted driver is a danger both to him/herself
and to others. Tiredness is by far the most common cause of
single-vehicle accidents involving trucks.
Even the most skilled drivers face dangerous situations that are difficult to handle without assistance.
Our challenge is to create a working environment
that gives the driver better scope for driving with full
concentration and alertness – and which helps avoid
accidents in emergency situations.
In order to build up increased know-how about the
interplay between the driver and the truck, we partici8
pate in a variety of projects, including a pan-European
research study entitled EuroFOT (Field Operation Test).
About 30 Volvo trucks have each been fitted with
experimental technology and five cameras that
register every aspect of each journey. The aim is
to study in detail all situations that might lead to accidents and to verify that the truck’s safety systems
function as intended.
As regards active safety – technology that helps the
driver avoid accidents – we have focused on developing
systems that prevent the occurrence of the two most
common causes of accidents: tiredness and distraction.
•Adaptive Cruise Control. Cruise control that automatically maintains a safe distance between one’s
own vehicle and the vehicle ahead.
•Driver Alert Support uses a camera that registers
the vehicle’s position in relation to the road markings.
If the vehicle’s progress is perceived as erratic,
the driver is alerted via an audible signal and a text
message. If the pattern is repeated, the driver is alerted and recommended to stop and take a break.
•Electronic Stability Program. This is activated in
situations where the driver may risk losing control
of the vehicle. As of 2009 ESP is available not only
for tractors but also for rigids with multiple trailers.
•Lane Changing Support is an “extra eye” that
uses a radar sensor to help the truck driver register
if there is another vehicle in the blind zone on
the passenger side.
•Lane Keeping Support warns the driver if the
vehicle crosses the road markings without having
used the indicators.
•Static Cornering Lights improve safety when taking
curves in the dark. They are automatically activated
together with the indicators on the relevant side
at speeds below 30 km/h.
•Rain sensor which monitors how heavy it rains and
automatically adjusts the windscreen wipers to increase safe driving in bad weather.
DOES NOT BELONG
IN THE TRAFFIC.
Alcohol is involved in as
many as one-third of all
fatal traffic accidents.
Volvo Trucks was the first manufacturer to offer factory-fitted alcolocks.
Even very small amounts of
alcohol have a negative effect
on one’s driving ability.
In increasing numbers of countries, it is socially
unacceptable to get behind the wheel after drinking
even very modest amounts of alcohol.
In spite of this, our roads are by no means free from
drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Alcohol is involved in as many as one third of all fatal
All available statistics show that professional drivers
account for a marginal proportion of the total number
of drunken drivers on the road. However, since accidents involving heavy vehicles often lead to major
consequences, every drunk driver is one too many.
This is why the issue of alcohol is an important
challenge on the way towards zero accidents.
to factory-fit alcolocks in trucks. This device prevents
the engine from starting up until the driver passes
a sobriety test by blowing into the mouthpiece of
the equipment – and an increasing number of our
customers now regard the alcolock as an important
tool in guaranteeing high quality.
As of 2006 we have offered ferry operators transporting trucks to and from Sweden free breathalyser
equipment on board their vessels. We also participate
in various pan-European information projects such
as the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC)
“Safe & Sober” campaign.
First on the market with alcolocks
In 2005, Volvo Trucks was the first truck manufacturer
THE RIGHT SPEED
Volvo discovers the three-point belt.
Safety tests of truck cabs begin.
Volvo Trucks Accident Research Team
(ART) is formed.
Introduction of Volvo Trucks’ safety cab,
tested as per Swedish cab durability
norms and in accordance with Volvo’s
unique barrier test.
Two world innovations: energy-absorbing
steering wheel and three-point inertia
reel seat belt with electronic locking.
- AND SAVES BOTH TIME AND MONEY.
New generation of braking systems
with anti-lock brakes (ABS).
Start of the Volvo Traffic Safety
Programme in Brazil to increase
public awareness of traffic safety.
New generation of safety cabs with
frames made of high-strength steel
and injury-preventive interior fittings.
Airbag introduced as an option.
In combination with the seat belt,
the airbag further improves injurypreventive safety.
Studies show that steady, smooth driving
at the permitted speed reduces the risk
of accidents. This prevents both personal
injuries and a loss of income should
the truck have to be at a standstill at the
garage for repairs.
There is a strong link between speed and safety.
An increase in speed from 80 km/h to 90 km/h on
a 100 kilometer long journey will save you eight minutes. At the same time, the trucks’ braking distance
will increase by 20 percent even with perfect road
There are a number of new studies that indicate
that keeping a steady lower speed saves time and
money, due to less speed fluctuations resulting in
a considerably reduced fuel consumption
At the same time, there is a lesser risk of having an
accident, which apart from causing personal injuries,
also leads to a loss of income if the truck has to
be at a standstill at the garage for repairs.
Training leads to safety-conscious drivers
In 2009 new legislation for driver training within the
EU was introduced in which safety is included as an
important area. As early as in 2008, Volvo was giving
safety courses equivalent to the EU requirements,
which were only introduced a year later.
A well-trained driver experiences less stress and this
helps reduce the risk of accidents and also helps cut
the cost of injuries, damage and repairs. The training
focuses on various issues including the benefits of
maintaining a suitable speed, the importance of using
a seat belt and other basic safety issues.
FUPS (Front Underrun Protection
System). A front underrun beam that
reduces the risk of injury to other
Electronically controlled disc brakes
(EBS). Dramatically improves the vital
interplay between the truck’s and
the trailer’s brakes.
VEHICLES OF THE
- BUT NO TECHNOLOGY CAN
REPLACE THE DRIVER
Electronic Stability Program (ESP) reduces
the risk of skidding and rolling over.
New, energy-absorbing front underrun
What is the next major step
on the road to an accident-free
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Cruise
control that ensures the truck maintains
a safe distance to the vehicle ahead.
Red seat belts as an option.
Volvo Safety Truck, a concept truck
featuring a number of accident-prevention
Volvo Trucks is the first truck maker to
offer a factory-fitted alcolock as an option.
Tomorrow’s vehicles will be able to
communicate with one another.
Seat belt reminder with a clearly
Volvo Enhanced Safety Technology (VEST)
introduced as standard on the Volvo VN
in tractor configuration.
In order to avoid accidents entirely, it is necessary for
vehicles on the road to communicate with one another
and the surrounding environment at the speed of
This paves the way in the long term for technology,
whereby, for instance, two oncoming vehicles can “talk to”
one another and automatically avoid a head-on collision
should the drivers not react in time.
Technology can never take over the full
responsibility for driving. That role is, and
will continue to be, the task of the skilled,
well-trained professional driver.
Alcolock introduced as an option.
Highly intelligent systems
This type of technology requires an enormous measure
of reliability and it is therefore essential to have an open
and constructive interaction between vehicle manufacturers and society at large. One of the major challenges
here is to agree upon a standardised “language” for
communication between vehicles and infrastructure.
Volvo Trucks participates actively in the development
of these highly intelligent systems. Our task is to make
the technology accessible and convenient to use so
that it really does make life easier for the driver behind
However, technology can never take over the responsibility for driving. That role is, and will continue to be,
the task of the skilled, well-trained professional driver.
Lane Keeping Support (LKS) is introduced.
The system monitors the truck’s position
on the road and alerts the driver if the
vehicle unintentionally wanders across
Driver Alert Support (DAS) is introduced.
This system registers the vehicle’s position
in relation to the road markings. If progress
is interpreted as erratic, the driver is alerted
via an audible signal and a text message.
Lane Changing Support (LCS) is an
“extra eye” that uses a radar sensor to help
the truck driver watch out for vehicles in
the offset rear blind spot.
Development of Electronic Stability
Program (ESP) which is now available on
tractors as well as on rigids with trailers.