The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling on governments around the world to apply the UN’s most important vehicle safety regulations. In its 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety the WHO revealed “worrying data showing that less than half of countries implement minimum standards” and warns that “Governments have a responsibility to take the steps needed to ensure their citizens have access to safe vehicles”.
Using seven priority vehicle safety standards recommended by Global NCAP, the WHO has carried out a unique survey on how they are currently being applied by governments around the world. The seven standards are from the UN’s World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations and 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 by high-income countries. The Report argues that “there is an urgent need for these minimum vehicle standards to be implemented by every country”.
On 25 September a United Nation’s (UN) Summit in New York adopted a new agenda, the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. They build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire in 2015. Unlike the MDGs, which ignored the subject entirely, road safety is included in the global goals. This briefing note outlines the road safety related content of the global goals as set out in the Summit declaration ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (New Agenda). It also assesses the relevance of the new goals for vehicle safety and Global NCAP’s recent report ‘Democratising Car Safety: Road Map for Safer Cars 2020’.