08 Jul 2013
Global NCAP asks industry for voluntary commitment on minimum safety standards

Global NCAP has written to the CEOs of all the global vehicle manufacturers, asking them to consider a voluntary commitment to improve minimum safety standards in cars sold worldwide. Global NCAP’s chairman Max Mosley has asked CEOs to use the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety as an opportunity to address road deaths, a major public health concern in emerging markets.

“Car production is exceeding 60 million units annually due to rapid growth in car sales in emerging markets where road injury has become a major public health concern,” said Mosley. “However, we estimate that as many as 20 million of these vehicles are likely to fail the UN’s minimum crash test standards. Consumer crash testing in emerging markets, for example undertaken by Latin NCAP, confirms disturbingly poor levels of occupant protection in some best-selling models.”

The type of voluntary commitment that Global NCAP is calling for has precedent. In 2006, the car industry undertook to ensure that seatbelts would be fitted in all models by 2008.

Global NCAP is suggesting that by 2015 all vehicles should meet international standards for seatbelts and anchorages (ECE R16 and R14) and basic standards for front and side impacts (ECE R94 and R95). By 2020, it would like to see electronic stability control (ESC) and pedestrian protection measures made standard.

Global NCAP says the commitment would ensure that the last 20 years of vehicle safety improvements transfer from mature industrial economies to the rapidly motorising regions. “An industry commitment would also help to promote harmonisation and establish a level playing field to prevent new cars which are clearly sub-standard in terms of safety being sold in regions that as yet do not apply the UN Forum’s minimum regulations,” said the letter.

The UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 aims to reduce the level of fatalities in road crashes forecast for 2020 by 50%. At its Annual General Meeting in May, Global NCAP adopted the Seoul Declaration, which encourages consumers to choose five-star vehicles whenever possible and for the automotive industry to make a voluntary commitment to set a floor of minimum safety standards for vehicles sold worldwide. The Declaration aims to focus attention on the need to reduce the high numbers of preventable injuries and deaths in emerging markets.