How safe are motorhomes in collisions?

The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) has crash-tested motorhomes. The result shows that their construction is not sufficient to protect drivers and passengers. A growing motorhome market in combination with several serious accidents shows that motorhomes need to be safer.

The crash tests have been made with two modern motorhomes – one semi-integrated and one fully integrated. The tests show major shortcomings in crash safety in motorhomes. The risk of death in case of frontal collision is very high.

The reason why the Swedish Transport Administration has now carried out crash tests is the rapid increase in the number of motorhomes. Since 2014, the number of newly registered motorhomes in Sweden has increased by 50 per cent. During the same period, 6 people have died in accidents with motorhomes, 4 of them last year. The most common type of accident was exactly frontal collision. Another approximately 100 people have been injured in road traffic accidents with motorhomes since 2014.

The Swedish Transport Administration’s in-depth studies of traffic accidents show a collision can cause major damage inside the vehicle. The results from the crash tests are spread to manufacturers, industry organizations and consumers to inform about what can be safer and what can be set for demands on the motorhome that new motorhomes have as high safety as possible.

The Swedish Transport Administration’s crash test is the same frontal collision test used in Euro NCAP, a European consumer organization that crash tests cars; a frontal impact of 64 km/h against a barrier corresponding to a vehicle of the same weight. Although the motorhomes were unloaded at the time, they are relatively heavy.

In this case, the tests correspond to a frontal impact of 90 km/h against an average passenger car.

The Swedish Transport Administration has tested two modern motorhomes (one semi-integrated and one fully integrated). Both represent 84% of motorhomes on the market now.

The results of the Swedish Transport Administration’s tests show that there is a great risk of death in a frontal collision. The construction of the motorhomes is not sufficient to be able to protect drivers and passengers at collisions. In the crash tests with both models, the driver has a very high risk of dying or being seriously injured. The semi-integrated motorhome provides somewhat better protection than fully integrated, but still far from the protection that a modern passenger car provides today. Everyone in the motorhome is at great risk of being seriously injured by interior fittings that come loose under the crash.
The tests also show that it is important for families traveling in motor homes to use as safe child protection as they use in their passenger car.

Motorhomes can be safer. By presenting facts about lack of road safety in motorhomes, there is a good basis for continued dialogue on how motorhomes can become safer.

The motorhomes have European approval in accordance with Directive 2007/46 (EC). According to these rules, all equipment in the living area (refrigerator, bed, etc.) must be firmly attached to walls, floor or ceiling – however, the table can be designed so that it can be moved easily. There are also requirements about seat belts and the car’s seats.

For motorhomes, however, there are not the same requirements for testing of frontal and side impacts as for ordinary passenger cars.

The Swedish Transport Administration’s recommendations to consumers:

  • Choose safe roads with central separation.
  • Keep the speed limit
  • Make sure you have no loose objects in the living area, such as a coffee maker. Remove the table if you have passengers behind.

The Swedish Transport Administration’s recommendations to manufacturers:

  • In the short term – improve the anchoring of the interior of the living space
  • In the short term – make sure the table is easy to remove
  • In the long term – look over so that the basic vehicle is crash-proof

Trafikverket, The Swedish Transport Administration is responsible for long-term planning of the transport system for all types of traffic, as well as for building, operating and maintaining public roads and railways. The Swedish Transport Administration is also responsible for administering the theoretical and driving tests needed to receive a driving licence and taxi driver badge, as well as the theoretical test for the professional know-how needed for a transport licence and certificate of professional competence.

Text: Veselin Valev
The Bulgarian Camping & Caravaning Webmedia

Source: www.trafikverket.se


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