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Wednesday, September 23, 1998 Published at 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK


Executive cars put walkers at risk

Manufacturers of executive cars have been criticised for putting the lives of those on foot at risk.

The latest in a series of EU car safety tests gave the BMW 5-Series the lowest possible score for pedestrian safety.

Dr John Reid, Minister for Transport: "a prompt to action for the manufacturers"
David Lang, the Automobile Association's Chief Engineer, said the level of pedestrian protection across all of the cars tested was "disappointing", as it had been in earlier tests.

Many experts say there is room for considerable improvement.

The tests, which covered seven cars, also revealed that the Volvo S70 was among those failing to get top marks for safety in front and side collisions, despite the manufacturer's strong reputation.

[ image: The BWM 5-Series was adjudged most dangerous to pedestrians]
The BWM 5-Series was adjudged most dangerous to pedestrians
All of the cars were were put through a frontal crash at 40mph and a side impact crash at 30mph.

However, Dr John Reid, the Minister for Transport, said all of the cars were safe.

"I don't think anyone should get worried that any of these cars are dangerous because all of them meet the safety standards which are the minimum requirement in Europe," he said.

He said the tests were a "prompt to action for the manufacturers". He added that in at least two of these cases factories are being redesigned to improve safety.

Responding to an earlier round of tests, Volkswagen installed side-impact airbags to improve safety.

Some manufacturers have criticised the tests, with Saab saying that its own tests are more thorough.

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