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The BBC's Tom Symonds
"Today's report may well make designers realise that all round safety can be a selling point"
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Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Car watchdog calls for pedestrian safety
Five-door Honda Civic
The Honda Civic's bumper and bonnet crumple on impact
The car watchdog which carries out crash tests is urging manufacturers to pay more attention to the safety of pedestrians.

For the first time, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) has awarded a car three out of four stars for pedestrian safety.

The Honda Civic was praised because its bumper and bonnet crumple on impact.

Pedestrian protection (out of four)
Honda Civic ***
Mercedes C-Class **
Rover 75 **
Volkswagen Passat **
Mitsubishi Carisma **
Fiat Multipla **
Vauxhall Zafira **
Euro NCAP accuses other car-makers of being pre-occupied with driver safety.

Before the Civic's score, no car has achieved more than a two-star rating for the protection factor for pedestrians in an accident.

The car's success follows last March's results, which awarded the Renault Laguna the first five-star rating for car occupant protection.

Euro NCAP chairman Max Mosley said: "The Honda Civic has achieved a unique breakthrough in levels of pedestrian protection.

Better standards

"For the first time in the history of Euro NCAP it's clear that a manufacturer has designed a car which genuinely balances the safety needs of both occupants and pedestrians."

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC's campaigning arm, the RAC Foundation, said: "We have been campaigning for better standards of pedestrian safety for some time and it is the one area which has not seen dramatic improvements in the last few years.

Occupant protection (out of five)
Honda Civic ****
Mercedes C-Class ****
Rover 75 ****
Volkswagen Passat ****
Mitsubishi Carisma ***
Fiat Multipla ***
Vauxhall Zafira ***
"If the UK government's stringent targets for road accident casualty reductions are to be met, then positive advances must be emulated.

"The toll of almost 10,000 pedestrians killed or seriously injured each year on UK roads could be cut dramatically if cars were made more pedestrian friendly.

"We must continue to improve safety both inside and outside the car."

Pedestrian protection

Chris Patience, the AA's head of technical policy, said: "In the UK, around 550 pedestrians are killed by cars each year and another 7,000 are seriously injured.

"Progress in pedestrian protection has not been as rapid as it has been for occupant protection, and we hope that other manufacturers will now follow Honda's lead."

Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: "The latest tests show the on-going commitment manufacturers make to car safety.

"The excellent performance of the UK-built Honda Civic is an example of the industry-wide commitment to working with all stakeholders to provide better protection for vehicle occupants and pedestrians."

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