July 24, 2001

Japanese Auto Industry Commits to Improved Pedestrian Protection with the European Commission

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has officially acknowledged a Commitment on Pedestrian Protection at a July 19 meeting of JAMA's board of directors.

JAMA's Commitment is identical in terms of content to that proposed and accepted by European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on 11 July. Negotiations leading to this acceptance represented a concerted effort on the part of three major associations ACEA, JAMA and KAMA, Korea's counterpart association of vehicle manufacturers. Through their acceptance, JAMA members voluntarily commit to providing new measures to improve the safety of pedestrians.

Active and passive safety will be promoted as a result. Initial measures will include the introduction of daytime running lights (DRLs) and anti-lock brake systems (ABS) in new vehicles. Further measures promoting pedestrian protection will be introduced in a first and second phase, effective as of 2005 and 2010 respectively, and JAMA hopes that second-phase requirements will eventually be considered for adoption as global technical standards.

Meeting the new requirements established by the Commitment means that automakers must introduce substantial modifications in terms of vehicle design, and this in compliance with given deadlines for enforcement. Sufficient lead time is therefore necessary in order for car manufacturers to improve, for example, the impact absorption performance of a vehicle's front-end structure.

Not only are changes required in vehicle design, but vehicle test methods for assessing pedestrian protection performance are extremely complex and a number of technical requirements and test conditions remain to be defined. Nevertheless, with improved safety for pedestrians being a top priority for Japanese auto manufacturers, JAMA members agree to meet the many challenges involved in implementing the Commitment.

A final Commission decision on the Commitment after consultation of the European Parliament and the Council is scheduled for later this year. While concerned with delay in the final decision on the Commitment which will impact the necessary lead-time for the implementation of the new requirements, JAMA is confident that European Parliament and Council will share the Commission's views on the value of this Commitment, and is preparing to work jointly with all parties involved to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.