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Millions of unsafe cars that do not meet UN Vehicle Safety Regulations continue to be sold in low and middle-income countries, where 90% of the total global road crash deaths occur.

Safer vehicles are urgently needed to help stop 1.25 million people dying and 50 million more being injured each year. The World Health Organization ranks traffic crashes as the 9th leading cause of death worldwide and predict it will rise to 7th place by 2030 without action.

Alongside our members we called on governments and manufacturers to implement the UN vehicle safety regulations to ensure a minimum level of safety in all new cars.



The issue

Global car production is concentrated in the hands of a small number of major manufacturers. Many of these major manufacturers apply dangerous double standards, producing and selling millions of unsafe cars into weakly regulated low and middle income markets, while simultaneously producing much safer cars for countries with high mandatory safety standards. This is despite costing as little as US $200 to install basic safety features such as air bags and strengthened bodywork – these features typically should allow a small car to pass UN Reg. 94 (frontal crash test).

Globally 1.25 million people are dying and 50 million more are being injured each year on the road.


Five of the 10 top-selling cars in Mexico and Brazil were so unsafe that they scored only zero or one star in Latin America car crash test ratings, out of a total of five stars. Car models with the lowest safety ratings dominated rankings for best-selling cars in Latin America.

With our members in Latin America, we worked with Bloomberg Philanthropies, alongside the Global and Latin New Car Assessment Programme (Latin NCAP) to save lives through safer cars. Together we were determined to remove dangerous zero-star cars from the road.

  • We put pressure on governments and manufacturers to save lives by adopting the minimum UN safety standards, requiring manufacturers to stop producing such unsafe cars.
  • We pushed for improved national regulation of car safety standards throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Guide to buying a safer car

Buying a new car is a huge investment and there are many things to consider before taking the plunge – from performance and running costs, to looks and reliability. But above all, the most important aspect to consider is safety.

More than 1.25 million people are killed annually on the world’s roads, and 90 percent of road traffic crash deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. There is a clear link between countries with weak car safety regulations and high death tolls. 

Our Car Safety Guide will provide consumers in affected regions with information to help them buy a safer and more reliable car.




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Campaign Successes
  • In April 2016, the United Nations passed a significant resolution calling on all Member States to implement UN Vehicle Safety Regulations in full, or adopt equivalent national standards.
  • In October 2016, following our campaigning on car safety, Nissan announced that they would cease production of the zero-star rated Tsuru car from May 2017. Manufactured in Mexico, the best-selling Tsuru is commonly used as a taxi.
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