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Global NCAP calls for universal application of minimum vehicle safety standards in all world markets by 2020

Millions of new cars sold in middle and low income countries fail to meet the UN’s basic safety standards for front and side impacts, according to international automotive safety watchdog Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program). Global NCAP has released a new policy report, “Democratising Car Safety: Road Map for Safer Cars 2020”, calling for minimum vehicle safety standards to be applied universally in all world markets.

World Health Organization (WHO) figures put the annual death toll from road crashes worldwide at 1.3 million people, while up to 50 million are injured in those crashes. The global vehicle fleet reached 1 billion units in 2010 and is forecast to double in the next ten to fifteen years, with much of this increase occurring in low and middle income countries which account for 90% of total road deaths.

With about 48% of all traffic fatalities being vehicle occupants, it is therefore essential to improve automobile safety, especially in rapidly motorizing regions, so as so to avoid a growing global burden of road injury, Global NCAP argues.

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. This is entirely unacceptable. Manufacturers cannot continue to treat millions of their customers as second class citizens when it comes to life saving standards of occupant protection.

—Global NCAP Chairman Max Mosley

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 ten 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.

—David Ward, Global NCAP Secretary General and author of the new report

Global NCAP’s policy recommendations are:

  1. All UN Member States should adopt Global NCAP’s two stage minimum car safety regulation plan by the end of the UN decade of action in 2020.

    Stage 1—Crashworthiness and Child Restraints—would encourage the widest possible application by UN member states of the latest regulations for frontal, side impact, and seat belt anchorages for all light duty vehicles (category M1). This could be applied in two phases: first to all new car models in 2016, and then second to all cars in production after 2018.

    This would discourage OEMs from launching any new models that fail to comply with the UN crash test standards while also setting an end date for the production of older non-compliant models.

    Stage Two—Crash Avoidance and Pedestrian Protection—would by 2018 encourage the widest possible application by UN member states of the latest regulations for electronic stability control and pedestrian protection also to category M1 vehicles. Again this could be applied in two phases; first to all new car models after 2018, and then to all cars in production after 2020.

  2. All UN Member States with significant automobile production should participate in the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations to promote a leveling up of the safety standards in an open and competitive market for automobiles and their components.

  3. Fleet purchasers both in the private and public sectors and rental companies should adopt Global NCAP’s Buyer’s Guide and choose five-star vehicles wherever possible.

  4. Governments and the insurance industry should provide fiscal incentives and to encourage more rapid deployment of new technologies through the passenger car fleet.

  5. 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.

  6. Investment should be encouraged in laboratory capacity and skills training to enable homologation, in use compliance, and independent NCAP testing in all world regions.

  7. The automobile manufacturers should make a voluntary commitment to apply front and side impact crash test standards (UN Regs. 94 & 95 or FMVSS 208 & 214) to all their new models from 2016.

  8. 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.

  9. The automobile manufacturers should improve the content of their sustainability responsibility reporting to include data on the applied safety standards of its global vehicle production.

  10. To sustain the in use safety of automobiles UN Member States should, a) apply conformity of production checks to models already approved on their market, b) carry out regular roadworthiness testing and include tyre depth and pressure checks in such PTI requirements, and c) consider using scrappage schemes to remove older unsafe vehicles from the road.

Improved passenger car safety has a vital role to play in securing the UN’s ambitious but realistic goal to halve the forecast level of road deaths by 2020 and then achieve further reductions by 2030. of course, not all of the necessary progress will come from safer cars. Some of the gains will have to come from better safety of other vehicles, especially motorcycles, and other policy measures such as improved road design and stronger enforcement of traffic rules.

… Global NCAP is confident that better regulation and more consumer information will deliver real reductions in the risk of road injury and save lives. But this depends on action now by all UN Member States, and especially all major car producing countries, to apply the most important UN regulations, support NCAP consumer awareness initiatives, and promote measures to sustain in-use safety performance. The twin track approach of regulatory push and demand pull has proved very successful in high income countries and can also work effectively if systematically applied in the rapidly motorising regions. As automotive markets globalise so must the fruits of safer automotive design and technology…

—Global NCPAP report/div>

Global NCAP is an independent charity registered in the United Kingdom. It serves as a global platform for NCAPs around the world to exchange best practice in consumer orientated motor vehicle safety initiatives. Global NCAP also provides financial, technical and campaigns assistance to new programmes in the rapidly motorizing countries and regions of Asia and Latin America.

The US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a statement supporting this effort. IHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are US-based members of Global NCAP. Other members include the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, China New Car Assessment Program, the European New Car Assessment Programme, Japan New Car Assessment Program, Korean New Car Assessment Program and Latin NCAP.

Global NCAP receives financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the FIA Foundation, from International Consumer Testing and Research and from the Road Safety Fund. Global NCAP supports the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and is a member of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration.



Should have said what percentage of all vehicle occupant traffic fatalities are motorbike riders. Even Ford Model-T was safer than the latest motorbikes. It may sound ridiculous to require so much protection in modern cars, including mandatory ESC, and at the same time allow motorbikes, with zero protection, to run alongside cars, at the same high speed.


@Alex: yes- and TukTuks and similar "ad hoc" 3 / 4 wheelers like the "tricycles" (motorbike sidecar's with a fabric roof) that they use in the Philippines. These things are lethal.

If they got rid of them and replaced them with basic 4 wheelers with seat belts, it would save many lives.


Isn't NCAP basically a "pay to play" cartel? I can see why many emerging markets don't want to get caught in that trap. That doesn't mean that they don't care about safety, or that they don't love their children.

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