Global NCAP has published new guidelines for organisations operating vehicle fleets, recommending that they only buy ‘five-star’ cars.
The guidelines advise fleet buyers to select vehicles that have been rated by New Car Assessment Programmes (NCAPs) with the five-star safety rating.
Global NCAP also recommends that fleet managers confirm that the cars they purchase meet the most important minimum United Nations vehicle safety standards.
Global NCAP secretary General David Ward said: “Any organisation can improve safety by carefully selecting the vehicles it uses.
“Global NCAP encourages all fleet managers both public and private to make five-star safety their goal in the UN Decade of Action.”
For companies with global operations and fleets, the lack of regulation by Governments in emerging markets and the absence of independent crash tests has become a real concern, says Global NCAP.
Of the record level of 65 million new passenger cars built last year, as many as a third would fail to pass the UN’s front and side crash tests, and do not have air bags, anti-lock brake systems (ABS) or electronic stability control (ESC).
“By following Global NCAP’s new guidelines,” said Ward, “it will be easier for organisations to ensure that the safety of their vehicle fleet provides acceptable levels of protection to their employees.”
Motivated by a combination of duty of care for employees, corporate social responsibility and effective cost controls, a growing number of organisations are introducing fleet safety policies and selecting only five-star cars for their employees.
This approach is consistent with the recommendations of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety launched in 2011, which encourages “managers of government and private sector fleets to purchase, operate and maintain vehicles that offer advanced safety technologies and high levels of occupant protection”.
Global NCAP’s guidelines will also help organisations wishing to adopt the new road traffic safety standard ISO 39001, which identifies vehicle safety as a significant factor for fleet operators seeking to reduce death and injury in road crashes.
As well as calling for five-star cars wherever possible, the guidelines propose that fleets ask manufacturers to confirm that the vehicle passes the minimum United Nations safety regulations concerning seat belts, and front and side crash tests.
Vehicles that meet regulations for electronic stability control and pedestrian protection are also rated as “strongly preferred” and the new crash avoidance technology autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is “highly recommended”.
In a foreword to the guidelines, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Patron of the Commission for Global Road Safety, said: “By adopting Global NCAPs recommendations, organisations will ensure that their purchase decisions meet best practice in safety management and make an important contribution to the UN Decade of Action.”
Each year 1.3 million people are killed and up to 50 million injured in road crashes worldwide.
By 2030 the World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that road crashes will become the fifth leading cause of death, rising to 2.4 million fatalities per year.
To try to avoid an inexorable rise in road injury the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
In April, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on road safety, which called on UN Member States to encourage the creation of NCAPs in all world regions. This decision represents a strong endorsement of the mission of Global NCAP, which is supporting the development of new NCAPs in both Asia and Latin America.
Max Mosley, chairman of Global NCAP, said: “If a company provides a car for their staff to use, it should be as safe as reasonably possible.
“A five-star or Top Pick safety rating is the best indication of this. It’s prudent also to check whether cars also meet the UN’s minimum safety regulations. With so many global brands neglecting to apply these regulations, fleet managers and company car drivers should not assume basic safety comes as standard.”
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