Road trauma in Australia and New Zealand could be significantly reduced by the adoption of rapidly developing technologies that change the way drivers use vehicles, according to new research published by Austroads.

Completed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and funded by Austroads, the “Safety Benefits of Cooperative ITS and Automated Driving” report investigates the benefits of key Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and automated driving applications. It draws on an in-depth examination of data to understand whether real-world serious injury crashes in Australia and New Zealand could be prevented if technologies such as forward collision warning, curve speed warning, intersection movement assist, right turn assist, lane keeping assist and auto emergency braking were fitted in all light passenger vehicles.

“The full adoption among the light passenger vehicle fleet of a selection of key automated driving and connected vehicle safety applications has the potential to prevent between 4,100 and 6,500 fatal and serious injury crashes in Australia and 310-485 fatal and serious injury crashes in New Zealand each year,” said MUARC Senior Research Fellow Dr David Logan, a lead member of the study.

Each year, vehicle crashes result in almost 1,300 people killed and 35,500 hospitalised in Australia. In New Zealand, 319 people were killed and 12,270 injured in 2015.

According to the report, the full adoption of C-ITS could reduce 35% to 50% of adjacent direction crashes at intersections by warning drivers when there is a high risk of colliding with another vehicle. The report also finds that C-ITS could reduce opposing direction crashes by up to 40%.

The report is available here.