European Road Safety Charter

Past, present and future of Road Safety: an enriching seminar

San Giorgio di Lomellina (Italy), September 13th 2014

In 1969, the Citroën DS obtained the prestigious award of “safest car in the world”. This title, held by the car for many of the years ahead, was justified by its exceptional road-holding, braking and stability qualities and by its extremely innovative concept. In the DS, the safety of the driver and its passengers had been considered a priority since the beginnings of its design. On September 13th, 2014 we focused on the peculiar approach of Citroën in designing and building safe cars in a seminar on the history and future of road safety, attended by many Members of our Association.

In the first part of the conference, Mario Maiocchi (former chief engineer of Citroën in its Milan headquarters) and Maurizio Marini (Head Archivist of Citroën Heritage in Italy) enlightened the participating guests about the impressive innovations introduced in 1955 on the DS, a “true travelling engineering laboratory”. Vintage pictures and videos, including the famous “50 details of safety” which at the time illustrated the car's qualities to the public, were very helpful in clarifying the characteristic technical approach of the French car maker to ensure the safety of its drivers: some of these innovations (such as disc brakes, swiwelling headlamps, collapsable steering-wheel etc.) were rediscovered by other manufacturers only many years later, and are a lesson even for today's engineers.

In the second part of the seminar, with the help of some interesting slides and videos, Roberto Boni (technical editor at Quattroruote magazine) updated us on the most recent developments adopted on cars for the safety of drivers and even pedestrians, such as ABS, ESP, airbags and electronic systems for automatic braking. A question time during both lessons allowed the attending public to clarify some of the complex topics introduced by our experts. This conference was the third educational event organised by IdéeSse Club since its endorsement of the European Road Safety Charter: history, technology, research, evolution, progress and peculiar perspectives are the key elements of our contribution to this endeavour. A fitting tribute to the DS's extraordinary technical legacy.

Video from the seminar:

Photo gallery