Photo courtesy of IIHS.

Photo courtesy of IIHS.

A new report from the Global New Car Assessment Program, or Global NCAP, calls for minimum vehicle safety standards to be applied universally in all world markets.

The report, titled “Democratizing Car Safety,” includes 10 recommendations to advance the goal of all new cars sold worldwide meeting basic safety standards by 2020. These standards would encompass both crash protection and crash avoidance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has endorsed the report’s recommendation to adopt universal standards for all global markets.

“When a consumer buys a new vehicle in the U.S., European Union, Australia or other developed country, they can expect a high level of safety, but that's not the case in many emerging markets,” said Adrian Lund, president of IIHS. “Missing from many vehicles sold in developing countries are strong occupant compartments that won’t collapse in a crash and effective crumple zones to reduce the forces on occupants. Even frontal airbags for the driver and passenger – standard on U.S. vehicles since 1999 – are typically optional equipment.”

Safety standards and crash test programs in the U.S. and Europe have saved tens of thousands of lives, Lund pointed out. “People shouldn’t be excluded from buying safe cars because of where they live,” he argued.

IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are U.S.-based members of Global NCAP. Other members include the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, China New Car Assessment Program, the European New Car Assessment Program, Japan New Car Assessment Program, Korean New Car Assessment Program and Latin NCAP.

Global NCAP is an independent charity registered in the United Kingdom. It serves as a global platform for NCAPs around the world to exchange best practices in consumer-oriented motor vehicle safety initiatives.

Global NCAP also provides financial and technical assistance to new car assessment programs in the rapidly motorizing countries and regions of Asia and Latin America. Global NCAP supports the U.N. Decade of Action for Road Safety and is a member of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration.