In response to President Donald Trump’s claim last week that a so called ‘bowling ball’ test is preventing US automobiles from entering the Japanese market, Global NCAP has written to the US President urging him to make ‘America First’ in pedestrian protection by adopting the same global standard applied by Japan. In its letter, Global NCAP explain the purpose of the United Nation’s Global Technical Regulation on pedestrian protection (GTR No 9) which aims to mitigate the risk of head injury by encouraging deformation of the hood.
Applied in Japan and in the European Union (EU) since 2005, a similar test was proposed by the National Highway Safety Administration in December 2015 to be included in the US New Car Assessment Program. At the time NHTSA noted that pedestrian protection measures in Europe and Japan “have likely contributed to a downward trend in pedestrian fatalities” and argued that “including pedestrian protection in the NCAP program would be a step toward realizing similar downward trends experienced in regions of the world that include pedestrians in their consumer information programs”. To date this proposed update of the US NCAP has not happened.
Global NCAP also points out that pedestrian fatalities in the USA have risen for two years in succession now amounting to 6000 lives lost per annum and accounting for 16 per cent of total road deaths. The organisation, therefore, “strongly agrees with NHTSA’s 2015 assessment that improved pedestrian protection in the USA could help reduce the number killed in such crashes each year”.