Scrappage scheme likely to boost safety

Ford has said that its success under the UK scrappage scheme looks set to have a major impact on improving road safety.

The scheme offers buyers £2,000 towards a new model if they trade in a car 10 years old or more which they have owned for 12 months or longer. This comprises £1,000 from the government and £1,000 from the manufacturer.

Ford dealers have taken more than 14,000 orders under the scheme, with scrappage deals accounting for around 300 orders a day across its dealer network.

Few cars over 10 years old will be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC), for example. ESC senses when the vehicle is losing grip and automatically applies a braking force to individual wheels, to stabilise it. The system uses advanced sensors to monitor the car's behaviour, helping the driver to keep control whatever the conditions.

An effectiveness study by the Department for Transport has concluded that if every vehicle sold were fitted with such a system, 380 lives could be saved and 7,800 accidents could be avoided every year on UK roads.

All new Ford models are available with the company's proprietary Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), many as standard.

Other road safety organisations are strongly in favour of the scheme. RoSPA road safety manager Duncan Vernon says: "We're enthusiastic about the road safety benefits of the scrappage scheme, simply because new cars are, generally speaking, better designed than old ones.

The DfT estimated that between 2000 and 2005, 'improved crashworthiness' of vehicles reduced the number of occupant fatal and serious injuries by 5.8 per cent.

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