Global NCAP asks carmakers to do more for safety

By Aida Sevilla-Mendoza March 18,2015

Speaking at the United Nations in Geneva last March 10, Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) chair Max Mosely called on car manufacturers to stop “treating millions of their customers as second class citizens when it comes to life-saving standards of occupant protection.”

“This is entirely unacceptable,” the head of the international automotive safety watchdog Global NCAP said, after pointing out that millions of new cars sold in middle- and low-income countries fail to meet the United Nations’ basic safety standards for front and side impacts.

Moseley spoke at the UN in Geneva during the launch of Global NCAP’s new policy report “Democratizing Car Safety: Road Map for Safer Cars 2020.”  The report will be released late this year in advance of the 2nd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety to be hosted by the Brazilian government in Brasilia Nov. 18-19 where a midterm review of progress in the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 will be carried out.

Mosely noted that “Safety improvements stimulated by legislation and consumer awareness campaigns in high income economies that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives are not yet systematically available for drivers and their families in rapidly growing lower income markets.

“For example, crash test standards introduced twenty years ago for cars sold in Europe, are yet to be met by many new cars, and even brand-new models, being sold today in leading middle income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

BASIC STANDARDS. David Ward, Global NCAP secretary general and author of the new report said, “The drive for the democratization of car safety must now be extended across all automotive markets worldwide.  By 2020 at the latest we want all new cars to meet basic standards for both crash protection and crash avoidance.

“They must have crumple zones, air bags and electronic stability control.  Our new report sets out 10 clear recommendations to transform global car safety, as well as a realistic and affordable timetable for their implementation.  Taken together, these life-saving recommendations have the potential to prevent tens of thousands of avoidable deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year.”

Global NCAP’s policy recommends that all UN member states adopt the following two-stage minimum car safety regulation plan and implementation timescale by the end of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety in 2020:

STAGE 1. UN Regulations for Frontal Impact (No. 94), Side Impact (No. 95), Seat Belt and Seat Belt Anchorages (No. 14 and No. 16)  (or equivalent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, or FMVSS) by 2016  for all new car models produced or imported; by 2018 for all cars produced or imported.

STAGE 2.  UN Regulations  for Electronic Stability Control (No. 13H or GTR.8), Pedestrian Protection (No. 127 or GTR.9) (or equivalent FMVSS)  by 2018  for all new car models produced or imported, by 2020 for all cars produced or imported.

Among the 10 recommendations of Global NCAP is that all UN member states with significant automobile production should participate in the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations to promote a levelling up of the safety standards in an open and competitive market for automobiles and their components.

Also, that governments and the insurance industry should provide fiscal incentives and to encourage more rapid deployment of new technologies through the passenger car fleet.

“NCAPs should be supported by governments and donors to extend consumer-related testing to include all the world’s major automobile markets and the widest range of models, especially the most popular and important” is another recommendation.

Further, that investment should be encouraged in laboratory capacity and skills training to enable homologation, in use compliance, and independent NCAP testing in all regions.

DE-SPECIFICATION. This recommendation will also be welcomed by car buyers: “The automotive industry should cease the practice of de-specification and bundling of safety features.  Instead they should make available the full range of safety design and devices in all their major markets and price the relevant technologies separately.”

Meanwhile, Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward told the 2015 Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC: “By 2020, we want to see all passenger cars meeting the basic UN occupant and pedestrian protection standards and be fitted with the crash avoidance system, electronic stability control … These life-saving features should not be considered luxuries for the better-off, but standard fit for all new car buyers.”

Ward praised the progress made by both the Asean and Latin NCAPs in promoting five-star levels of safety in their rapidly motorizing regions far ahead of regulatory requirements.  He urged car makers to promote universalizing the use of safety technologies that will become more affordable as the market for them grows in all world regions.

Ward also welcomed recent progress in India where the government has committed to apply the UN’s front and side impact crash test standards and Toyota has decided to fit air bags across their passenger car range.

600,000 LIVES. Commenting on a report issued last January by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimating that since 1960, applied Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards including seat belts, air bags, child safety seats and electronic stability control have saved 613,501 lives, Ward said: “The NHTSA’s report confirms the remarkable life-saving impact of vehicle safety technologies.

“Improved car safety in the U.S. has saved more than 600,000 lives since 1960; a remarkable success achieved by both regulation and consumer information.  This combination of ‘regulatory push’ and ‘demand pull’ creates a market safety which is the winning formula that is now being applied across the world as part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.”

Global NCAP, an independent charity registered in the United Kingdom, serves as a global platform for NCAPs around the world (currently nine) to exchange best practices in consumer-oriented motor vehicle safety initiatives. It receives financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the FIA Foundation, International Consumer Testing and Research and the Road Safety Fund and provides financial, technical and campaigns assistance to new programs in the rapidly motorizing countries and regions of Asia and Latin America.  It supports the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and is a member of the UN Road Safety Collaboration. With reports from Global NCAP and NHTSA

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