On April 15, 2016, according to Global New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing the standard fitment of active safety systems in all new motor vehicles worldwide. This is the primary focus of the Stop the Crash Partnership.
It was the strongest ever commitment on road safety made by UN member states, and it supports the ambitious road safety targets included in the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development–which is to halve global road traffic fatalities and injuries by 2020.
The resolution builds upon the “Brasilia Declaration” passed by the 2nd Global High Level Conference held last November in Brasilia, Brazil that endorses the application of active safety systems on all new passenger cars by 2020 at the latest.
Active safety systems refer to vehicle technologies which, rather than protecting people during a crash, prevent the crash from happening at all. The most important of these is the ESC or electronic stability control. It is the most significant advancement in vehicle safety since the introduction of the seatbelt and one of the most important crash avoidance systems currently available.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) helps drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles or vulnerable road users.
Anti-lock brakes for motorcycles prevent wheel lock-up and ensure bike stability as well as optimal deceleration while braking.
David Ward, chairman of the Stop the Crash Partnership, said the UN’s recognition and endorsement of the crash avoidance safety systems approach would accelerate the adoption of laws required by government across the globe to mandate these life-saving technologies.
Meanwhile, FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile or International Automobile Federation) President Jean Todt, who is also the UN secretary general’s special envoy for road safety, welcomed the UN resolution that could pave the way for the creation of a UN Road Safety Fund.
In New York City, Todt was quoted as saying the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety he chairs will do everything in its power to support the creation of the fund, which would revolutionize road safety financing.
“I can’t think of any other public policy investment which would be more profitable when comparing its benefits to its costs,” he said. “We have a responsibility to provide every person on this planet safer mobility.”
Todt has actively advocated creating innovative financing mechanisms to finance road safety programs across the world, particularly in developing countries, where 90-percent of road traffic deaths occur.
According to the 2015 WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety, some 1.25 million people are killed in car crashes around the world each year, which makes road traffic the No. 1 cause of death for 15-29-year-olds. In the past three years, there has been a 16-percent rise in the number of vehicles on the world’s roads, further underscoring the urgent need for action.
The global cost of road traffic crashes is estimated at $500 billion every year and will require ambitious and innovative financing schemes globally to address the global pandemics of road fatalities, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
The FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety, established at the UN Headquarters in New York City last November, aims to engage both the public and private sectors to raise funding and political awareness in response to the road safety crisis and to mobilize support for the goals of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.