Project: Antilock Brakes: Their Influence on Accidents

Reference: S280D/VD

Last update: 18/08/2003 11:39:41


To determine, for comparative ranges of vehicle groups the real life accident avoidance/damage reduction benefits derived from fitment and use of anti-lock brakes(ABS) and to predict/prove how the appropriate driver training affects benefits.

To meet the objective the following are key areas:

* characterisation of accidents ABS and non ABS;
* cost of accidents and relationships; and
* injuries levels and severity occurring.

A separate related objective is a study of the BMW motorcycle control group. It is known that all BMW motorcycles imported and sold in UK since 1990 are fitted with ABS. This group of vehicles should be viewed to establish if they constitute a lesser accident involvement level group or a reduced damage suffered group. It may be possible to answer this by assessment of accident claim level/severity through insurance agencies and police authorities.


This project sought to determine the benefits derived from the fitting of anti-lock brakes (ABS) in real world accidents and to advise whether appropriate driver training would improve the situation. The study has shown that ABS has the potential to reduce the number of accidents but that this potential is not being fully realised. This is in part due to many drivers having little or no knowledge of the method of operation of ABS or being unaware whether their vehicle is actually equipped with such a system. The lack of knowledge may have contributed to the increase in accident risk amongst older men and women.


TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £293,000.00

Actual start date: 01 March 1998

Actual completion date: 31 December 1999


Report PR/SE/623/99 A survey of the effectiveness of ABS in reducing accidents
Author: J Broughton
Publication date: 01/12/1999
Source: Contact

Summary of results

  1. The study has shown that ABS has the potential to reduce the number of accidents but this potential has not been fully achieved. This is in part because many drivers have little or no knowledge of ABS. Lack of knowledge has contributed to the increase in accident risk among older men and women.