09 Oct 2012
New ISO safety standard encourages vehicle safety

ISO has just published ISO 39001, a management system standard for road traffic safety. The standard is a practical tool for governments, vehicle fleet operators and all organizations worldwide who want to reduce death and serious injury due to road accidents. ISO 39001 provides them with state-of-the-art requirements for safety aspects including speed, vehicle condition and driver awareness.

Claes Tingvall, a Trustee of Global NCAP and Chair of the ISO technical committee – ISO/TC 241, Road traffic safety management systems – that developed the standard, points out: “Road accidents account for some 1.3 million fatalities each year. The number of people killed is on the increase, particularly in low and middle-income countries. It is crucial that governments commit to implementing a series of specific and attainable actions, including the setting of ambitious road casualty reduction targets. The sharing of know-how and experience is also needed.

“ISO 39001 will assist governmental and private sector organizations alike by providing a structured, holistic approach to road-traffic safety as a complement to existing programmes and regulations. It is based on the process approach, proven by successful ISO standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management, including the plan-do-check-act cycle, and a requirement for continual improvement.”

The new standard lays down harmonized requirements, based on international expertise and applicable to all countries, to support all public or private sector organizations involved in regulating, designing or operating road transport. It will also help by providing a framework for contracts and communication between regulators, vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers. It recommends a series of ‘safety outcome factors’ which includes the safety of vehicles. The ISO standard states:

“Improvements in vehicle safety design and safety equipment, including the development and application of new safety technologies (e.g. electronic stability control), play an important role in efforts to reduce road traffic deaths and serious injuries. The conditions for the entry of vehicles to the road network are set out in jurisdictional vehicle registration and certification legislation, which can be supplemented by additional organizational requirements. Any organization can improve safety by careful selection of the vehicles it uses. The safety differences of vehicle types and models are significant, whether for people inside or outside of the vehicle, or for light or heavy vehicles. Generally, vehicle safety is legislated and most new vehicles deliver safety beyond legislation. Consumer programs test and publish safety ratings for many vehicle types and models which can be used by organizations to assist them in making informed decisions about the level of safety they seek in vehicle fleets”.

Commenting on the new standard David Ward, Global NCAP’s Secretary General said: “ISO 39001 will be very useful for fleet managers in guiding their safety choices in favour of vehicles that have been tested by NCAPs and gained the best possible star ratings. That is why Global NCAP warmly welcomes ISO 39001 which is a major contribution to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety”.

ISO 39001:2012, Road traffic safety (RTS) management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, costs 140 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes and from ISO Central Secretariat.