In view of its exceptional expertise in active and passive safety systems, the company sees itself as a key driver in reducing the number of traffic-related fatalities, injuries, and road accidents through the more widespread use of innovative technologies.
“We have been pursuing the long-term strategy behind Vision Zero for many years now and through innovations and the ongoing improvement of components and systems we are making a decisive contribution to greater road safety. As we see it, Vision Zero will be achieved in three steps: Top priority goes to eliminating all road-traffic fatalities, then comes reducing the number of persons injured to zero, and finally we need to put an end to road accidents,” says Frank Jourdan, Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG and President of the Chassis & Safety Division.
“Since the mandatory introduction of seat belts, electronic stability control (ESC), tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), and automatic emergency braking systems (AEBS) for commercial vehicles, there has been a marked reduction in the numbers of road-traffic deaths and injuries, as well as in the number of road accidents. Having said that, however, at 1.2 million, the annual number of road-traffic deaths is still shockingly high — a totally inacceptable level. We are aiming to change this state of affairs through our joint efforts.”
Vision Zero has now also been adopted as the strategic target-positioning for external communications for the Continental premium tire brand in the replacement passenger tire sector in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa). Needless to say, the goal of achieving the best braking performance in each class remains unchanged. Vision Zero simply adds a new dimension, starting at the 2015 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt and taking the goals of the Tire Division forward in a way that is both logical and uncompromising.
“Tires are the sole point of contact between the vehicle and the road. All forces transmitted to the road are put down via a footprint no bigger than the size of a postcard. In a critical situation, it is the tire that determines whether the vehicle can stop in time — or whether it stays safely on course through a corner. This is why we want to inform as many drivers as possible, all over the world, about the safety benefits of using high-tech tires inflated to the correct pressure and with adequate tread depth,” says Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG and President of the Tire Division. “From now on, we will be aligning the position of our technology-oriented premium tire brand Continental even more closely with the long-term goals of Vision Zero, an area in which Continental as a whole stands to benefit from its broad portfolio of safety technologies.”
In Continental’s view, over recent decades marked improvements in safety levels have been achieved through the introduction of mandatory equipment levels for new vehicles, including technologies such as ABS, ESC, TPMS, and AEBS. At the same time, however, statistics (not just in the 28 EU member states) show there are still far too many accidents taking place and too many people being killed or injured on the roads. By way of illustration, the goal of the European Road Safety Charta of halving the number of road-traffic deaths between 2000 and 2010 was not met by a substantial margin.
Continental is convinced that raising safety standards, for example by prescribing the use of existing volume-built technologies as standard equipment — not least when awarding Euro NCAP stars in the compact and sub-compact vehicle categories — would make a major difference, not only in Europe but all over the world.