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Carmakers' drive for safety puts other road users at risk
Hundreds of people are killed or injured in crashes because modern cars have forward-looking blind spots, according to a study by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).
The blind spots are caused by the spars that frame the windscreen, which are known as the A-pillars. These have been thickened in recent years to prevent the main structure crumpling in crashes.
The risk is greatest at junctions and roundabouts, where the driver looks to the right before pulling out but may not see another vehicle because it is behind the pillar.
The TRL, which is carrying out the research for the DfT, said: "Indications are that a motorcyclist could disappear behind the driver's A-pillar for approximately 0.35 seconds, the time it takes for a quick glance before pulling out."
The problem is exacerbated when the pillar 'tracks' the hidden motorcycle as driver and rider converge. The motorcycle may disappear from view for a few seconds, with the driver seeing nothing before impact.
A fifth of fatal crashes are officially attributed to drivers who 'looked but did not see' and road safety analysts believe that pillar blind spots may be a factor in up to half of these, or 10% of the total.
For the full story go to: http://driving.timesonline.co.uk