We spent all of last week trying to make some sense out of the issues relating to the Tribune article. What happened? Are we doing enough to ensure that our kids are safe? Do we need more testing? If so, how should we implement new tests and define testing parameters? How would CR manufacturers comply with new regulations or supplemental tests? Would new CR designs make seats harder to use properly and increase their prices substantially?
I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. However, this problem of how best to protect occupants of all ages and sizes in motor vehicles isn’t just a problem for America – it’s a global issue. Child restraints, laws, vehicle features and occupant restraint systems may vary from country to country but the same laws of physics apply to all of us. Therefore, it makes sense to look at other parts of the world to see how they’re tackling these complex issues.
After a little research – I’m sad to report that many other parts of the world are kicking our butts with their NCAP testing. Europe, Japan and Australia all have superior NCAP programs. I didn’t thoroughly research the Japanese or Australian programs but I did research the European NCAP and our own program is so many years behind that it’s embarrassing.
Our vehicle testing regimen remains virtually the same now as it was when it began - in 1978. The only major addition has been a wimpy, side-impact test that they added in 1996. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the IIHS picking up the slack – we’d still be in the dark ages.
Let’s take a closer look at the Euro NCAP program….