The automobile club ADAC has tested nine turning assistants for retrofitting trucks. Only two received the grade "good".
Turning systems will not be mandatory for all newly registered trucks in the EU from 3.5 tons until 2024. There are already retrofit systems that have a general operating license and meet the funding requirements of the Federal Ministry of Transport, nine of which have been examined by the ADAC. The result, frightening.
Four turning assistants with "inadequate"
Four of the tested systems scored "inadequate", two with "satisfactory" and only two received the grade "good". The turning system "Eyyes TASET001" emerged as the test winner. At 3,690 euros, it is also the most expensive assistant in the test. "This system did not produce any incorrect messages in real traffic and was able to recognize cyclists even at a lateral distance of six meters from the truck. The visual feedback to the driver is easy and understandable," judges the auto club.
The test loser with a grade of 5.0 is "RightVlu" from Continental, which was not allowed for the test vehicle and was instead mounted on a truck with a gross vehicle weight of 18 tons.
Error messages are bad for acceptance
The ADAC completed the tests both on closed-off terrain and on the road and investigated various issues. The most important thing here was how the retrofit assistants react to different road users such as inline skaters, pedestrians or wheelchair users. In addition, the coverage area was important and how the systems work in the dark. It was also tested how the turning systems react to cyclists who are partially hidden by bushes, trees or parked cars.
In addition, it was important for the ADAC to examine the number of false warnings, as they affect driver acceptance. Most false alarms arose because the systems could not distinguish between objects (trees, traffic signs, bollards, etc.) and unprotected road users. No system was able to reliably identify a cyclist when there were obstacles between the truck and the cyclist. A general disadvantage of the retrofit technology is that they do not offer an automatic emergency braking function, only a brake warning.
Subsidy of up to 1,500 euros
As part of the "Action turning assistant", the Federal Ministry of Transport is promoting the retrofitting of existing vehicles with more than 3.5 tons permissible total weight with up to 1,500 euros - but a maximum of 80 percent of the costs. In Germany, around 70 cyclists die every year in accidents with trucks, and 665 are seriously injured. One in three of these accidents occurs when turning, where the cyclist is in the blind spot. According to the "General Safety Regulation" of the EU, new trucks from 3.5 tons will not have to have a corresponding turning assistant installed as standard until 2022, from 2024 this obligation will also apply to newly registered trucks.
Only two out of nine systems received the grade "good" in the ADAC test, four are even "poor" - and all systems are supported as part of the funding by the Federal Ministry of Transport. Of course, the question arises as to why Scheuer's ministry promotes accident prevention systems that don't contribute to accident prevention. The barriers to entry appear to be quite low.
This is not only a waste of tax money, but also a mockery of all accident victims and a great danger for everyone who could become one. And the fleet operators are also given a false sense of security by the inadequate yet subsidized systems, apart from the fact that they are asked to pay for poorly functioning systems - after all, the purchase and installation exceed the subsidy amount.