“If corporations want to be global companies, if they like globalization then they should have global standards to protect all human life anywhere on the globe, not just where they can’t get away with it, such as in the U.S.” Ralph Nader, United Nations General Assembly in Washington DC
If Nader had started with that statement and ended with that statement the speech would have been more poignant. He did not. Clearly not a fan of “General Manslaughter”, Ralph Nader took the opportunity to lambast General Motors at the United Nations General Assembly in Washington DC. Also not a fan of Mary Barra, 82-year old Nader making the belittling sexist statement, “what’s wrong Mary, women are supposed to be more compassionate! What is going on, you’re letting these white men around you monetize your mind?.”
Nader could have just read the statement General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in Davos:“[t]here’s many cases where we are well above standards, but we also have to look at affordability otherwise you cut people out of even having the availability of transportation”.
But there is a trade-off, and unless the countries make laws like the United States has done, the car companies will continue to make affordable vehicles. Even in the United States, most car companies do not make safety equipment standard unless they are mandated to do so. And given the option, most consumers will spend more money on infotainment than they do on safety equipment.
Yes, affordability of a car is important, but so is life. Seventy Ministers from around the world adopted a Declaration calling for mandatory use of airbags and other life-saving measures at the 2nd Global High-Level Meeting on Road Safety held in Brasilia on 18-19 November. Each country can continue to legislate safety, or there can be a set of safety that is standard.
Stop the Crash is a legitimate concern. Mexico doesn’t have the same laws that the United States has. Therefore, the automobile companies are not adding safety equipment unless it is required. Some of the cars in South America have zero safety car ratings, such as the Chevy Sail. That would never happen in the United States, and 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.”
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 predicts it will rise to 7th place by 2030 without urgent action.
Seat belts, air bags, and active safety systems fitted as standard are what the General Assembly resolution asks from the car companies.
Active safety systems refer to vehicle technologies which rather than protecting people during a crash can avoid the crash from happening at all. The most important of these are:
Electronic Stability Control
ESC is the most significant advance in vehicle safety since the introduction of the seat belt and one of the most important crash avoidance systems currently available.
Autonomous Emergency Braking
AEB is an advanced safety technology that can help drivers avoid or mitigate collisions with other vehicles or vulnerable road users.
ABS for Motorcycles
ABS for motorcycles prevents wheel lock-up and ensures bike stability as well as optimal deceleration while braking.
Taken together the UN General Assembly resolution, the Brasilia Declaration, and the Global Plan for the Decade of Action (2011-2020) provide a very clear statement of intent as regards the levels of safety that should be applied to all new passenger cars by 2020 at the very latest.
Led by Global New Car Assessment Programmes (NCAP), the #STOPTHECRASH Partnership includes the ADAC, Autoliv, Bosch, Consumers International, Continental, Denso, Thatcham, ZF-TRW, and the Toward Zero Foundation.