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EU adopts Aussie side-impact safety plan

Aussie lead: An Australian-developed side impact standard could lead to mandatory standards for all cars sold here - and overseas.

Federal government to lead development of global side-impact standard

General News logo19 Jul 2010

THE federal government’s proposal for an international side-impact standard for vehicles has won approval from the United Nations World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations, and Australia will now lead a global working group of governments and car manufacturers to develop the standard.

As GoAuto has reported, the government’s aim is to develop a minimum standard for vehicle performance in a so-called pole crash which could prompt head-protecting side/curtain airbags to be fitted on all new vehicles sold in this country.

As it has done with other standards, the government will amend Australian Design Rules (ADRs) once the new standard is adopted at EU level, which it considers to be the peak international body on vehicle standards.

80 center imageFrom top: Ford Falcon ute, Mercedes-Benz Viano and federal transport minister Anthony Albanese.

Federal transport minister Anthony Albanese said the standard was unanimously supported at the UN forum.

He also said the government was assisting with the development of the new standard with an extensive crash-test program underway at the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority’s world-class Crashlab in Sydney.

“It is critical that nations like ours work internationally to develop new safety proposals due to the growing harmonisation of vehicle safety standards and the global nature of the motor vehicle industry,” he said.

“For example, 85 per cent of the new vehicles sold every year in Australia are imported, and we are also a significant exporter of vehicles.

“The standard will require safety measures, such as curtain side airbags, which will improve protection against head injuries in all side-impact crashes.

“Over one in five fatalities on our roads are the result of side impacts, with pole side impacts specifically accounting for about 10 per cent of the nation’s road toll each year.”

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) supports the proposed standard and is developing its own voluntary code of practice on head-protecting side airbags.

Under the code, the industry is aiming for 80 per cent of new vehicles to have head-protecting airbags installed by 2012 – with 100 per cent by 2016.

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