Safer Vehicles

The aim of Pillar 3 of the Decade of Action for Road Safety is to encourage universal deployment of improved vehicle safety technologies for both passive and active safety through a combination of harmonization of relevant global standards, consumer information schemes and incentives to accelerate the uptake of new technologies.

As of 2015, there have been 3 international vehicle safety standard related conventions: the 1958, 1997, and 1998 agreements, now referred to as the UN Regulations. While important and a good step, the limits and differences in quality of country standards mean that these agreements alone are insufficient. Today, the quality level of vehicle safety technologies and standards ranges greatly between countries. Additionally, many countries are not party to the agreements or have not ratified them, notably, the United States, China, India, and almost all African countries. According to the World Health Organizations Global Status Report, "the global vehicle fleet reached 1 billion in 2010 and is expected to double between 2025 and 2030. This increase is largely taking place in low- and middle-income countries, which already account for nearly 90% of global deaths from road crashes. One important avenue for addressing this road crash epidemic is to improve motor vehicle safety." And, as Global NCAP notes, “We cannot expect to meet the lifesaving goals of the current UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) if safer motor vehicles are mainly available only in high income countries.” Nor can they be met if they leave out some of the worlds most populous countries. To that same end, international targets and benchmarks for vehicle safety are necessary as well.

The UN World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (World Forum) hosted by the UNECE is the primary body responsible for the development of passenger car safety standards.

In addition to a call for implementing the UN standards, UNRSC Pillar 3 contains targets and indicators for vehicle safety. It includes information and best practice recommendations regarding activities such as new car assessment programs for customer awareness and more widespread use of proven crash avoidance technologies. Aspects of Pillar 3 address vehicle safety protections for drivers, passengers, other road users and vulnerable road users alike.

This pillar is hosted by the WHO and UNRSC.

More information on safer vehicles: