Auto Industry's Own Study Demolishes Case For Car Safety Harmonization In TAFTA/TTIP

from the putting-lives-in-danger dept

Back in February, we suggested that TAFTA/TTIP should really be called the "Atlantic Car Trade Agreement," or ACTA for short, since nearly 50% of the claimed boost to transatlantic trade that would accrue from TTIP consists of swapping vehicles between the US and EU. The claim was that, since cars made in the US and EU were equally safe, there was no good reason why they could not be sold on both sides of the Atlantic. According to an important article in The Independent, proponents of this view were so confident that US and EU safety standards were broadly similar that they commissioned a report to prove it, with the aim of using it to bolster the case for harmonizing car safety standards in TAFTA/TTIP:

The Washington-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) sponsored the research, announced in a joint press release last year alongside the European car lobby ACEA and the American Automotive Policy Council.
So that there could be no question about the validity of the results, they asked some of the world's top people in the field to participate:
Independent experts from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the SAFER transportation research centre at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, carried out the study. They are two of the leading traffic safety research centres in the world. Experts in France and at the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory were also involved.
Here's what the industry's report found:
The research actually established that American models are much less safe when it comes to front-side collisions, a common cause of accidents that often result in serious injuries.
The following is no surprise, then:
The findings were never submitted -- or publicly announced -- by the industry bodies that funded the study.
Putting a brave face on things, a spokesperson for the US Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told The Independent:
"There is much credit to be given for the historic efforts made in this study, and we fully support the methodology for comparing and analyzing U.S. and EU crash environments and vehicle performance. "
While the European car manufacturers association said:
"ACEA remains confident that regulatory convergence can be achieved in TTIP while maintaining the current high level of safety performance in both the EU and the US"
But the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the independent organization that advises the European Commission and the European Parliament on road safety, is not so sure. Its executive director, Antonio Avenoso, is quoted as saying:
"This study shows that EU and US trade negotiators would potentially be putting lives in danger by allowing vehicles approved in the US to be sold today in Europe and vice-versa. … Clearly without much more research and analysis, including vehicle safety standards in the TTIP agreement would be irresponsible."

The trouble is, if car safety standard harmonization is not included in TTIP, there won't be the big boost to trade that is predicted to come from increased transatlantic vehicle sales. And without that big boost, TAFTA/TTIP's benefits, never very big in the first place, become even more negligible. Sounds like it's time to slam the brakes on ACTA….

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 9:51pm

    Study? What study?

    If I had to guess they'll almost certainly try and pretend that the study never took place any time the subject comes up, or just give vague, useless answers like the two spokesmen did that completely ignore the findings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 24 Sep 2015 @ 11:56pm

    Seems Unfair To Discard A Theory Because Of One Unfortunate Data Point

    If we kept paying attention to so-called "facts" all the time, we'd never believe anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 8:13am

      Re: Seems Unfair To Discard A Theory Because Of One Unfortunate Data Point

      Sounds like a Global Warming stance as well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 3:41am

    Aaaand they won't care.

    There is money involved so if (and I dearly hope not) TIPP is accepted then this would be entirely ignored even though people will die.
    Business is business and people are ants.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 25 Sep 2015 @ 6:54am

    Glyn Moody shame on you

    I am sorry Glyn Moody. I have been a long time reader, short time fan. or is that a short time reader, long time fan. Either way, shame on you. Shame on you for doing this. Trying to pull the cyber wool over our eyes will not work. TAFTA/TTIP and all these other trade agreements are NOT about trade at all. And you know it. So why are you creating a beautifully written size 12 black font that has my head hurt and my heart wanting to explode into a thousand pieces... ;-)

    JK, Glyn Moody for President 2016

    Capt ICE Enforcer (RETIRED)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 7:44am

      Re: Glyn Moody shame on you

      Glyn Moody for President 2016

      Hey, quit trying to pinch him, as we need him to be the next prime minister.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 25 Sep 2015 @ 7:20am

    Stabbed in the back by the facts...

    Is it safe to say that the results of this study T-boned their plans for harmonization?

    If it is, is it safer to say it in the EU than the US?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Squirrels Without Boarders, 25 Sep 2015 @ 8:24am

    I thought that the difference between the US and the EU safety standards were based, in part, between the different driving environments. The types of accidents that are more common are different, with side impact being more common in the US and front contact (i.e. pedestrians) being more common in the EU.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 8:52am

    Corporations wet dream trade agreement

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 9:12am

    there is only going to be a boost to trade in the minds of the USA negotiators and lobbyists, for the purpose of making themselves loads a dough! the benefit to the EU will be less than negligible and the aim is to support the USA economy, ready for when Wall Street fucks up the world's economy next time!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike S., 25 Sep 2015 @ 2:06pm

    curious for more detail

    The US has crash tests from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The NHTSA revised its testing protocol substantially for model year 2011 vehicles.

    I'd be really curious to see what vehicles and model years are covered by the tests.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 6:19pm

    So which EU car should I buy when/if they become available in the US?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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