CI car safety call to global car manufacturers

19 Nov 2015

Safety features in new cars should be universal, which would save thousands of lives every year.

This is the call from Consumers International today to global car manufacturers.

In an open letter to the world’s largest car producers, sent on the occasion of the Global High Level Ministerial Conference to review the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety, we are calling for a time-bound voluntary commitment to adopt the UN Car Safety regulations for all new cars where-ever they are sold. This would be a major step forward in car safety and demonstrate the commitment of car manufacturers to improving safety for consumers around the world.

The discrepancies between cars made and sold in high income and middle and low income countries are glaring, with safety features taking a backseat to profit. Where regulations do not exist, cars lack even basic features such as airbags.

The independent crash test results released this week by Latin NCAP highlight this problem. In countries without these regulations, unsafe cars are produced and sold while regulations prevent such vehicles being sold in high-income countries. 

The crash tests revealed the Chevrolet Aveo as a prime example. It is considered a five star safe car in Europe, where the UN regulations are mandatory.  The same vehicle in Mexico is a zero star car as basic safety features, including airbags are absent..

Road traffic deaths are now the 9th biggest killer globally, and are predicted to become the 7th biggest killer worldwide by 2030 unless urgent action is taken. 1.3 million people died and 50 million people were injured on our roads in 2013. Unsafe cars are a major contributor to this statistic, 50% of those affected were vehicle occupants. 

In Brasilia this week Ministers of Transport and Health from around the world are adopting a declaration calling for all new motor vehicles to meet minimum safety regulations:

“Promote the adoption of policies and measures to implement United Nations vehicle safety regulations or equivalent national standards to ensure that all new motor vehicles, meet applicable minimum regulations for occupant and other road users protection, with seat belts, air bags and active safety systems such as anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) fitted as standard.”

The top ten car manufacturers accounted for 78% of all cars produced in 2013.

CI is saying it is clear that manufacturers have an essential role to play in reducing traffic fatalities and injuries.  Car companies have an opportunity to demonstrate their concern for safety and to play a leading role in ensuring all vehicles comply with these minimum safety standards.  Applying these regulations voluntarily will help increase trust and confidence in the safety of cars.

CI is now waiting for responses.

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