UNECE backs Global NCAP's car safety call

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UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach speaking at the safety event
UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach speaking at the safety event
David Ward, Global NCAP Secretary General
David Ward, Global NCAP Secretary General

A major UN regulatory body, the UN Economic Commission for Europe, has urged car manufacturers to meet minimum UN safety standards for all their cars.

Speaking at an event in Geneva today UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach said: “We cannot accept that cars sold in middle and low income countries be deliberately less safe than those sold in developed countries. I therefore call on the motor industry as a whole to ensure that well-established safety standards be applied to all vehicles sold worldwide. I also urge all UN member States to ratify and fully apply the UN legal instruments on road safety, in particular the UN technical regulations for the construction of vehicles.”

Tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries could be avoided each year if all countries would apply the safety standards outlined in the UN regulations developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. This was the conclusion of a study recently released by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) which showed that millions of new cars sold in middle and low income countries fail to meet the UN’s basic front and side crash tests. Global NCAP's work is supported with a grant from the FIA Foundation.

To raise awareness of this issue UNECE and Global NCAP are today displaying two crashed cars at the Palais des Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva, on the occasion of the 66th session of the Economic Commission for Europe. Together with two FIA member automobile clubs, ADAC and TCS, Global NCAP also organised a demonstration of autonomous emergency braking, with UN mission officials and government delegates taking a ride in the clubs' test car.

After being subjected to a frontal impact test at 64 km/h one of the displayed cars scored zero stars, with a very serious risk of fatal injury, while the other achieved five stars, which provides a high level of occupant protection. The two cars on display outside UN headquarters illustrate the importance that crash tests play in ensuring road safety and the different levels of safety between cars sold in emerging markets and in advanced economies.

David Ward, Global NCAP Secretary General, said: “By the end of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) 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 latest report sets out ten clear recommendations to meet this deadline, and we are convinced that this timetable is both realistic and affordable.”

For more than 50 years, the World Forum has negotiated and adopted UN vehicle regulations aimed at reinforcing car safety. These cover, among others:

  • the safety performance of vehicle for front and side impacts (UN Regulations Nos. 94 and 95),
  • pedestrian safety (UN Regulation No. 129)
  • the safety of electric vehicles and their high-voltage batteries (UN Regulation No. 100).

The UN regulations developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations are available at: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp29.html

Photos courtesy of UNECE/Global NCAP