Of course we all know that car safety has increased enormously over the years. However, almost every improvement has come only after much lobbying. I believe windscreen wipers were introduced many years after cars had been invented. The pressure for this improvement came mainly from women (passengers, obviously). Thanks ladies!
Safety items have often been presented as optional extras rather than standard equipment. It is not surprising therefore that many people opt for the basic model rather than paying that little more for the safer one.
It is well known that the biggest cause of road accidents is driver error. So how can we blame the manufacturers? A lot of the current generation of safety devices are aimed at reducing the effects of driver error. Sensors that cause the brakes to apply themselves if a crash is imminent. Sensors that warn if a vehicle is straying from its lane.
Some models do have these fitted as standard, but many still do not. In some cases to buy them as extras costs hundreds of pounds, whilst to install them as standard would add only forty pounds to the cost. Asking for a specimen with the device installed can add a lot to the delivery time.
Who is going to pay more and wait longer for something that is likely to be perceived as non-essential?
But the motor industry does not see safety as something that sells cars, so perhaps it is not their fault.
In this instance we may need to rely on nanny-state (or should that be nanny-EU?) to bring in regulations.