Petition to the European Commission for compulsory information about vehicles' stopping distance!

Cars' advertisings already have information about their CO2 emissions: adding those related to their stopping distance will raise the awareness on the risks associated with speed and consequently counteract dangerous driving behaviours.

Text of the letter

To Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport,

We the undersigned, as international practitioners and academics in road safety, write in response to the recent slowdown in reducing road fatalities in Europe.

Driver behaviour is a key element of road safety, as it can mitigate or increase the effects of eventual shortcomings in the other two elements (vehicle and infrastructure). Speed is the main factor characterizing drivers' behaviour and excessive speed is one of the major causes of road accidents; unfortunately in many drivers there is an "harmful culture of speed" that considers high speed, reckless overtaking, insufficient safety distances and other dangerous behaviours as a source of distinction in their social context and therefore of self-esteem. Moreover, some advertising campaigns explicitly or implicitly focused on the myth of speed contribute to feed such a culture.

The signatories of this petition, considering that:
  • disseminating a "correct culture of speed", necessarily linked to the road safety issues, substantially contributes to a better and safer driver behaviour;
  • increasing awareness of the stopping distance associated with the driving speed is definitely an effective way to prevent the too frequent dangerous driving behaviours on European roads,
are addressing this petition to the European Commission in the middle of the Decade of Action for Road Safety to call for an initiative for making compulsory for vehicle manufacturers to declare and publicize the stopping distance at a speed of 100 km/h under the same conditions (tires, road surface, etc.) they usually declare the time from zero to 100 km/h.
We are convinced that highlighting it in car advertisings (as already done for CO2 emissions) will lead to an increased awareness of risks associated with speed and consequently counteract dangerous driving behaviours.

The information we ask to be compulsorily inserted in cars' advertisings are the following:

Stopping distance at 100 km/h: 28 + [braking distance specified by the manufacturer] = xxx meters

The stopping distance, or total stopping distance, is the stretch of road between the point where the driver perceives the danger and the point it comes to a complete stop: it is the sum of the reaction and braking distances.
The reaction distance
is the road stretch between the point where the driver perceives the danger and the point he starts braking. The reaction time is usually assumed at least equal to one second for a driver in very good psycho-physical conditions. One second at a speed of 100 Km/h is equivalent to a distance travelled of about 28 meters.
The braking distance is measured from the point where the driver starts braking to the point it comes to a complete stop; it depends on speed, vehicle's characteristics, condition of tyres and road surface.

Such information refers to the concepts stressed in driving license courses but too often forgotten, particularly the reaction space that varies with the driver's psycho-physical conditions: its insertion in cars' advertisings will not result in any burden on vehicle manufacturers, except a little space in their brochures in favour of road safety awareness.

(Signatures of all the subjects that join this initiative) .