03 Jun 2012
Global NCAP seeks support to eliminate sub-standard safety

Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward addressed representatives of governments and manufacturers at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) vehicle safety conference in Seoul. Providing an update on Global NCAP’s activities in the UN’s Decade of Action for Road Safety, Ward asked car makers to consider a voluntary commitment to improving basic levels of crashworthiness.

The UN Decade of Action has made a number of recommendations for vehicle safety that Global NCAP is working to see implemented. These include the implementation of NCAPs across world regions and increased support for the global regulatory process.

Global NCAP is assisting the establishment of New Car Assessment Programmes (NCAPs) in emerging economies with financial and technical support. The organisation is also providing a platform for all NCAPs to exchange ideas and best practice, looking at how to accelerate the introduction of new technologies into the marketplace.

Ward said: “In emerging markets, we’re seeing the critical importance of body structure integrity together with better restraint systems. Without these we will not see the reduction in fatalities and injuries that we need. The number of vehicles that fall short of the basic UN crashworthiness standard, Regulation 94 is worrying.”

In 2011, around 60 million new cars were sold. Global NCAP estimates that around 20 million of these did not comply with the most basic crashworthiness standards. “This is astounding in a period of extraordinary globalisation and growth for the auto industry,” said Ward. “I see little difference between a substandard vehicle and the terrible tragedy of the collapsed factory in Bangladesh: both are sub-standard products causing terrible human injury.”

Later this year Global NCAP will publish a Buyer’s Guide for governments, corporate fleets and private buyers. It will recommend that all should always choose five-star cars wherever possible. In regions not supported by NCAPs, the Guide will recommend that buyers check that cars pass the main crashworthiness standards.

“Manufacturers should consider making a commitment that by 2020 there will be no vehicles built anywhere that don’t meet these standards,” said Ward. “A sensible voluntary initiative by the industry would be a good way to recognise the importance of the Decade of Action.”