TRL says 40,000 Latin American lives could be saved by 2030 if basic UN vehicle regulations were applied


A new report commissioned by Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reveals that 40,000 Latin American lives could be saved and 400,000 serious injuries prevented by 2030, if United Nations (UN) vehicle safety regulations were applied by four key countries in the region.

The UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) conducted the independent study and its findings are closely aligned with the policy recommendations adopted by the UN and consistent with Global NCAP’s recommended ‘Road Map 2020 for Safer Cars’.

The aim of the study was to predict how many car user deaths and injuries could be prevented in four Latin American countries – Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil – by establishing minimum car safety regulations and consumer testing. The major regulations that were considered were UN Regulations No. 14 and 16 (seat belts and anchorages); 94 (occupant protection in frontal collision); and 95 (occupant protection in side or lateral collisions). If minimum vehicle safety standards were applied, the study’s economic assessment suggests that these casualty reductions could save up to US$143bn over the 14-year period from 2016 to 2030.

“There is an urgent need to adopt proven, well established and cost effective UN car secondary safety regulations in Latin America,” said Richard Cuerden, TRL chief scientist. “Such vehicle safety standards have been in force in the EU for decades and would prevent the needless deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of people. Establishing a more common and equitable protection in the event of a collision, for all car users, regardless of world region, would be a big leap forward in democratizing vehicle safety for all.”

Dalve Soria Alves, IDB’s senior transport specialist and coordinator for road safety, commented, “Some Latin American countries have started the legislative process and are now applying some standards that are similar to the EU and other industrialized regions, but there is still a significant gap between the regulated vehicle safety standards in the industrialized regions and Latin America.

“In particular, frontal and side impact tests meeting UN Regulations 94 and 95 should be mandated and applied to all new cars sold across the whole Latin American region as soon as practicable. This report shows the enormous lifesaving potential of vehicle regulations, the IDB urges all governments across the region to implement them without delay.”

María Fernanda Rodríguez, Latin NCAP’s president, said, “This report makes the case for the UN regulations to be implemented in the Latin American region. We know manufacturers are capable but unwilling, governments must act now in order to save lives of their citizens who deserve the same levels of protection as North Americans and Europeans.”

Global NCAP’s secretary general, David Ward, commented, “This report confirms the huge reduction in deaths and serious injuries that can be achieved in Latin America by applying the UN’s minimum crash test standards. That is why we want to see all Latin America applying these UN standards as soon as possible.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).