The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling on governments around the world to apply the UN’s vehicle safety regulations after its report* revealed “worrying data” showing that less than half of countries currently implement minimum standards.
Using seven vehicle safety standards recommended by Global NCAP, the WHO carried out a survey on how they are currently being applied by governments around the world. The seven standards cover seat belts, seat belt anchorages, front and side impact, electronic stability control, pedestrian protection and child seats.
The results show that they are being fully applied by only 40 out of a total of 193 UN Member States, and overwhelmingly in high-income countries. The report argues that “there is an urgent need for these minimum vehicle standards to be implemented by every country”.
The report states that “it is important that governments in these countries take steps to ensure basic standards for vehicles manufactured within their borders, either for domestic sale or export” and that “governments have a responsibility to take the steps needed to ensure their citizens have access to safe vehicles”.
The WHO is worried that “these standards are notably absent in many of the large middle income countries that are major car manufacturers” now responsible for almost 50% of world passenger car production which reached a record level of 67 million units last year.
As an example, the report shows that the most important crash-worthiness regulations helping to protect occupants withstand front and side impact crashes “are poorly implemented globally”.
The report concludes that safe vehicles “play a critical role” in reducing the likelihood of serious injury and that the lack of such standards in middle-income countries “risks jeopardising global efforts to make roads safer”.
*The Global status report on road safety 2015
The Global status report on road safety 2015 comprises a narrative text combining evidence, facts and best practices with conclusions drawn following the analysis of the data collected for 180 countries. In addition it offers one-page profiles for each participating country and statistical annexes. An interactive online data visualization of the report is also available.