Australia is leading the way in saving lives and preventing serious injury in road crashes by setting new standards for occupant safety.
Minister for Road Safety, Sharon Bird, said Australia has developed a world-first international vehicle standard that will set crash performance standards for cars and light commercial vehicles in side impacts with narrow objects like poles and trees.
“Work on the standard, called the Global Technical Regulation (GTR) on Pole Side Impact, is complete with the draft to be voted on by the United Nations’ vehicle regulatory body in November,” Ms Bird told the National Road Safety Forum 2013 in Hobart.
“This is the first time Australia has led an international vehicle standard and it will have major safety benefits for Australian road users and those around the globe.
“The regulation will require safety measures, such as curtain side airbags, thorax airbags and better crash sensors that will improve protection in all side impacts.
“This is vital given side impacts account for over 20 per cent of the Australian road deaths and a disproportionately high number of brain injuries.
“Monash University Accident Research Centre has estimated that in Australia the GTR will save approximately 700 lives over a 30 year period and avert or diminish approximately 800 severe brain injuries.
“Work on the GTR has been funded by the Australian Government in cooperation with a number of other countries over the last three years.
“After the expected agreement of the GTR in November, Australia will immediately commence work on incorporating the new regulations into the national standards – the Australian Design Rules,” Ms Bird said.
A draft of Global Technical Regulation on Pole Side Impact with background information is available at http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2013/wp29/WP29-160-14e.pdf